Their battle against fake news has made headlines for the past year, but it looks like Facebook is now ramping up their fight against fake ads.
For the most part, ads on Facebook are pretty straightforward. There’s a product or service shown in an advertisement, and clicking that ad takes you to that page. But sites that are against Facebook’s ad policies or community guidelines have figured out a workaround.
Sneaky pitchmen have figured out a way to send Facebook employees to a legitimate site so an ad gets approved, but users who click on the ad are sent to another site altogether. It’s a practice called “cloaking” in the tech world, and Facebook is taking a stand against it.
For starters, they’re updating their ad policy to strongly forbid the practice (strangely enough, there wasn’t any verbiage forbidding it before now). But of course, since someone who’s willing to create a deceptive ad likely won’t be stopped by a sternly worded sentence, Facebook is developing tools – both AI and human – to find and eliminate cloaked ads.
Any advertiser who creates a cloaked ad will be permanently banned from the network.
Advertisements are a huge part of Facebook’s income, so it makes sense that they’d want to keep a close eye on what’s showing up on their network. If users suddenly have reason to be apprehensive about clicking on an advertisement, it would eventually affect the company’s bottom line.
It’s a small change for sure, but it’s nice to see Facebook recognize that this is a problem and take steps to help prevent it.
“We can now better observe differences in the type of (ads) served to people using our apps compared to our own internal systems,” Facebook said. “In the past few months these new steps have resulted in us taking down thousands of these offenders and disrupting their economic incentives for misleading people.”