Tech Companies, Facebook, Social Media, Technology

Tech Companies, Facebook

Facebook reportedly bans Signal ad account for exposing data collection practices

Facebook says Signal's blogpost and its reported attempts to run ads on Instagram were 'a stunt'

5/6/2021 10:11:00 PM

Facebook says Signal's blogpost and its reported attempts to run ads on Instagram were 'a stunt.'

Facebook says Signal's blogpost and its reported attempts to run ads on Instagram were 'a stunt'

Signal on Tuesday, May 4, said its Facebook ad account was banned after attempting to get out a"multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to."Ina blog post, the privacy-focused messaging app company said Facebook's tools – as they are used by Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – collect information on users that they then use for targeted advertisements using a large number of potential data points.

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The transparency behind how it operates, however, is lost and invisible to most who just want to enjoy the benefits of technology without thinking about its repercussions.Signal"wanted to use those same tools to directly highlight how most technology works."

To that end, the company used Facebook's ad targeting system to find interesting data points that would point to a very specific subset of users, such as K-pop loving chemical engineers from Berlin or newlywed pilates instructors from La Jolla.An example of Signal's planned Instagram ads. Image from Signal. headtopics.com

"We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to. The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses," Signal explained.

Signal said it attempted to buy ads on Instagram for this purpose, but added the ad account was shut down before the ads could go live.Despite this, the proposed ads were placed on the blog post as examples of what kind of specific targeted advertising goes on in the background.

CNET meanwhile saidin its reportthat Facebook told The Information Signal's attempts were a stunt."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," Facebook said."

Read more: Rappler »

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