Changes In Ads and Privacy on Social Media
July 10, 2018

Categories
Social MediaTwitterFacebook

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are trying to keep users and woo back ones they lost by instituting new policies focused on more transparency and stricter data usage. These tactics might work in gaining back some users’ trust, but it may be too little too late for others.

New in Digital is a blog series dedicated to highlighting digital news from across the web and explaining what those developments mean for organizations in the public affairs environment.

The social media landscape seems to change to rapidly, it’s difficult to keep up. Now more than ever, users want to understand how these platforms access personal information and who else can see that information. Recently, Facebook and Twitter took some steps to disclose more information about what’s happening with your data, but that might not be enough.

Women looking at phones
Facebook has been blocking the wrong ads

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been trying to decrease the amount of misinformation on its platform (and has launched a PR and ad campaign to highlight this effort). One element of the fight is their new political ads policy, which requires verification of all political advertisers.

But Facebook has run into a problem. They’ve been inadvertently taking down ads that contain political words but aren’t political in nature. For example, ads by a landscaping company in South Dakota were taken down because they mentioned “bush,” and Facebook’s AI systems thought it was referring to the former presidents. In another case,an insurance company’s ad for their annual baseball night in the Iowa town of Clinton was taken down because the AI system thought the ad was political.

Facebook says this new process is still under review, but it is illuminating to see how automation is both complicating this problem while trying to solve it.

Facebook’s new data policy

Facebook has also released a new data policy, the company is saying they want to be more transparent in how user data is being used.

Currently, Facebook collects and uses posts, messages, photos and other information provided by the user including groups and pages visited as well as hashtags used. Keep in mind this data isn’t just gathered from visiting Facebook, but also from visiting their other brands like Instagram and WhatsApp.

Various apps users opt into on these platforms can still receive information, but the company is working on tightening the amount of data they can access from your profile.

Twitter providing more transparency

In the same vein, Twitter is trying to provide more information about their paid political advertising. They recently released a new Political Campaigning Ads Policy which allows people around the world to see what ads are placed by brands, organizations and individuals.

This new policy includes a tool that lets users search for a handle and see the creative and content for all the ad campaigns within the last seven days. Users can also see billing information, ad spend, impression data and demographic targeting data for the ads and tweets.

These new additions will let users explore political ads and understand why they were targeted. (Facebook launched a similar search tool in May.)

In another example of transparency, Twitter announced the suspension of more than 70 million accounts in May and June in order to decrease the flow of disinformation on the platform.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are trying to keep users and woo back ones they lost by instituting new policies focused on more transparency and stricter data usage. These tactics might work in gaining back some users’ trust, but it may be too little too late for others.

Stay tuned for more New in Digital posts.