After the recent elections, Fake News and Spam Posts have been a hot topic, and Facebook took some major heat from news media & politicians alike claiming that the prevalence of Fake News had a major impact on the outcome of the election. Facebook also has another problem that has been looming for years called “Cloaking”.
Well, this week Facebook decided enough is enough. They took action to stop what is known as “cloaking”. For those of you not aware of what “cloaking” is, let us briefly explain the practice, and how it might affect you.
Cloaking is a method that spammy advertisers use to hide the fact that their ads actually violate Facebooks Advertising Guidelines. The way they do this is to use software that when Facebook employees look at the website to see if its compliant, they see a 100% compliant site such as a product on Amazon for example or an article in Women’s Health Magazine. When a regular user however clicks the ad, it redirects them to the website that breaks Facebook Guidelines so that the advertiser can make more money since they don’t have to follow Facebook Advertising rules. Simply put, this software that “cloaks” shows Facebook a compliant and GOOD site and all actual users see the BAD site that breaks the rules.
“When we discover a site using cloaking, we’ll deactivate their ad accounts, we’ll kick them off our platform, & we’ll get rid of all of their pages.” – Said Rob Leathern, Facebook Ads Product Director.
With all the pressure from the public, press and politicians, Facebook has really ramped things up with their detection process and have both humans and artificial intelligence closely monitoring this. By cutting off this practice Facebook will drastically improve the overall quality of their platform and rid themselves of the spammers spreading disinformation for profit, or even worse, political motives.
“We can now better observe differences in the type of content served to people using our apps compared to our own internal systems. 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.” – said Facebook
Now, you might be wondering, how does this affect me? Well, think about it, Facebook is one giant auction, and now that they will begin removing all the garbage there will be less competition for all of us doing things by the book. The more Facebook and other platforms crack down on this type of behavior the sooner we will all start to see an improvement in the overall trust of the consumers, quality of our ad delivery, and hopefully an improvement in conversions.
Facebook is not the only one with this problem. Google, which is Facebooks biggest competitor, is also cracking down on the practice and will be working to eliminate “cloaked” ads from their platform as well. The fact that the two largest advertising platforms are acknowledging the practice, partnering up to eliminate it, and taking steps to make it a thing of the past is great news for all of us!