Social Media Is Cracking Down On Questionable Content and Ads

Facebook advertising is one of the key tools to promote your business to target an audience. Quality must be established, and digital marketing is taking a turn for the better, or for the worse, with some of these new regulations. For smaller businesses that rely heavier on creating content and advertisement, this can be quite a challenge. 

If you would like more detail on how to use digital marketing, aside from reading the latest UK tech news, we advise consulting with experts. With Google and Facebook controlling around 70% of the £12bn UK digital ad market, some professional help couldn’t hurt.  

Here is how new information is being checked, filtered, or blocked completely to improve the overall quality of ads and content. We’ll also address how effective it may be and how it will impact companies in the long run. 

Keyword Blacklists, A Publisher’s Nightmare

Content that covers topics like terrorism and other forms of violence are barred from making it to the front page. Keyword blacklists consist of trigger words when detected; it automatically stops featuring the story. While this sounds great on paper, it is ultimately blocking general news. 

Publishers are discouraged from using “clickbait”, but thousands of words are considered “explicit”. For instance, if the word “shoot” is blocked, the system will pick it up from other words such as “photoshoot”. 

As a result, UK publishers have reported a rise in unwarranted blocks from 30% of inventory up to 90%, and have lost almost £170m in digital revenue last year. To combat excessive AI keyword blocking, ad verification companies are using a more natural approach to language processing. 

Fake Review Seller Crackdown

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a warning to Facebook and eBay of fake and misleading online reviews. According to CMA, more than three-quarters of UK shoppers are influenced by reviews when they shop online. This is creating a marketplace for fake review sellers to influence the buyer’s choice. The fraudulent activity consists of (but not limited to): 

  • Starting recruitment groups for writing fake reviews
  • Buying likes and followers
  • Manipulating ad performance

Facebook is improving machine learning to detect and remove fake sellers to protect their users from misleading information. From the time they were contacted by the CMA, Facebook has identified and removed over 180 groups and 24 accounts for fraudulent activity. 

Using “Megxit” for Advertising

A property developer firm is under fire after using images of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in its advertising campaign. An ad by Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland’s biggest property developers, appeared on billboards and social media. 

The company did not have permission to use their photo and is in the process of removing it from their light-hearted campaign. As part of their apology, Hagan Homes has offered to make a £10,000 donation to a charity of the couple’s choice. 

Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP)

While the Ballyclare-based company had no intentions to offend the royal couple, there are rules in place when it comes to using their image for content. As stated by CAP, members of the royal family should not be used in marketing campaigns without permission.

The Alternative to Fact-Checking 

Facebook has established security measures, but it is not fact-checking or restricting political ads. Instead, Facebook is providing transparency tools such as Ad Library, the Ad Library report, and the Ad Library API. This allows researchers, news, media and the public to conduct their own monitoring. 

Ever since it went live, researchers and journalists have been encountering a myriad of issues. From lack of data to delays, it has gone as far as wiping out 40% of all political Facebook ads in the UK from the public record. 

With the volume they are faced with, Facebook cannot watch election interference properly. The platform has also failed to communicate with the community on what had happened until much later. Without transparency, we don’t have a way to track how campaigns and third-party groups are advertising online.  

Improving Digital Media, One Step at a Time

With new developments come new problems. Facebook and other platforms are balancing between user safety and advertisement. As services and features expand, it’s only natural that it would produce more issues to solve. Despite the hindrances, this won’t impede users and companies any time soon.