Facebook blocked ads that Signal wanted to buy that would show Instagram users the data that Facebook collects from them, according to the encrypted messaging company.
A series of Instagram ads run by the privacy-positive platform Signal got the messaging app booted from the former’s ad platform, according to a blog post Signal published on Tuesday.
In a blog post entitled “The Instagram ads Facebook won’t show you,” Signal said the likes of Facebook are driven to collect people’s data to sell, and the company wanted to showcase how that technology works. So it tried to buy “multi-variant targeted” ads on Instagram “designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to.” Facebook responded by shutting down Signal’s account, the blog post said.
Signal posted examples of what the ads would look like on its blog.
One reads: “You got this ad because you’re a newlywed pilates instructor and you’re cartoon crazy. This ad used your location to see you’re in La Jolla. You’re into parenting blogs and thinking about LGBTQ adoption.”
CEO Moxie Marlinspike tweeted another example that shows how a user could be targeted with ads based on their job, location, dietary preferences, and fitness interests.
Facebook’s ad business relies upon data tracking to inform its algorithm that decides which ads to put in front of online users, and it’s lucrative: It bolstered the social media giant’s Q1 revenue to $26.17 billion, up 48% from this time last year.
The company attributed the rise to an increase in the average price per ad as well as the number of ad impressions.
Signal Said in the blog entitled ‘The Instagram ads Facebook won’t show you’ –
Companies like Facebook aren’t building technology for you, they’re building technology for your data. They collect everything they can from FB, Instagram, and WhatsApp in order to sell visibility into people and their lives.
This isn’t exactly a secret, but the full picture is hazy to most – dimly concealed within complex, opaquely-rendered systems and fine print designed to be scrolled past. The way most of the internet works today would be considered intolerable if translated into comprehensible real world analogs, but it endures because it is invisible.
However, Facebook’s own tools have the potential to divulge what is otherwise unseen. It’s already possible to catch fragments of these truths in the ads you’re shown; they are glimmers that reflect the world of a surveilling stranger who knows you. We wanted to use those same tools to directly highlight how most technology works. We wanted to buy some Instagram ads.
Access denied of Signal Ads
Signal 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. Facebook was not into that idea.
Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used. Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience.
So, here are some examples of the targeted ads that you’ll never see on Instagram. Yours would have been so you.