Facebook says 126 million people may have seen Russian content aimed at influencing Americans, reports West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which added that lawmakers on Capitol Hill “want to weed out Russian operatives and extremist propaganda from Facebook.

“But savvy marketers — people who’ve used Facebook’s advertising platform since its inception — say that social media giant will find it hard to banish nefarious actors because its technology is designed to be wide open and simple to use.

“Unlike traditional ad buying, Facebook’s ad platform is self-service and automated, says Marty Weintraub, a marketing executive with the firm Aimclear. All an advertiser needs is a valid email address and a credit card. Facebook’s ad targeting software does the rest.

“Advertisers have flocked to it because it works. Facebook’s done a great job of building “psychographic data” — not just facts about you that you offer up (like your birthday), but things you don’t say and your behavior reveals anyway (like your wedding anniversary, income level, if you own a home or play tennis). And this sophisticated targeting has been critical to Facebook’s success. Last year, the platform raked in nearly $27 billion in ad revenue

“But several marketers say that Facebook’s cutting edge technology also allows scams, fake news and foreign interference to slip through the cracks, and seamlessly go viral.”

One Response

  1. Dan Higgins

    Facebook recently announced that it will be removing “dark posts” (also called unpublished posts) that are used to hide these acts from their advertisers. Facebook said they will provide a button on each page to allow people to openly review the brand page’s ads. This change will make many marketers upset because many larger brands create dozens or even hundreds of iterations of ads for A/B testing or creating unique messages for their various audiences. It can come across as disingenuous if someone looks behind the curtain.

    What it must do a better job of is reducing the fake news/memes and other content that is being published to the platform from foreign groups, but that is a tough thing to do without upsetting their users. It must also make sure to crack down on the significant copyright and trademark infringements by pages designed for clickbait/newsjacking. Because of technology and how quickly information gets out, this is set to get far worse no matter what Facebook and Twitter do to reduce it. And we have only talked about how this has impacted the United States. This is a GLOBAL problem with state actors manipulating their audience and having complete reign to push their agendas.


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