World’s biggest social media platform, Facebook, has been in involved in a public conflict with communications app Signal this week over an ad campaign.
The encrypted messaging service — a non-profit chatting platforms that rival Facebook-owned WhatsApp — said in a blog post on Tuesday that Facebook had intentionally blocked one of its ad campaigns on Instagram — a platform owned by Facebook.
According to Signal, the said ad campaign was planned to show Instagram users the amount of data that Instagram and parent firm Facebook collect on users.
“We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to,” Signal wrote. “The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer, which the advertising platform uses.”
Signal used Instagram’s ad tech tools to target the ads for users. Here is example text of one of the ads from Signal: “You got this ad because you’re a teacher, but more importantly you’re a Leo (and single). This ad used your location to see you’re in Moscow. You like to support sketch comedy, and this ad thinks you do drag.”
Signal explained that Facebook “wasn’t into that idea” and contended that its ad campaign was rejected and their account was further disabled by Facebook.
“Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned,” Signal wrote. “In Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience.”
Facebook last month questioned Apple over its new policies in the iOS 14.5. Facebook claims it’ll affect its user’s personal ads experience. One would have thought in the quest to seek equity, a clean hands would be offered.
Nonetheless, in this instance, Facebook described the ad campaign by Signal as a stunt and claimed that Signal had never actually tried to run the Instagram campaign.
“This is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to actually run these ads — and we didn’t shut down their ad account for trying to do so,”
“If Signal had tried to run the ads, a couple of them would have been rejected because our advertising policies prohibit ads that assert that you have a specific medical condition or sexual orientation, as Signal should know. But of course, running the ads was never their goal — it was about getting publicity.”
Signal responded on Twitter that it “absolutely did” try to run the ads. “The ads were rejected, and Facebook disabled our ad account. These are real screenshots, as Facebook should know.”