“We’re Going Back to MySpace!”: Facebook’s Political Problems

June 25th, 2018

Social Media Marketing

facebook ads enx2 marketing

Gather around, children, because I have a story to tell.

Once upon a time, there was a social media giant named Facebook. It was a great place where you can connect or reconnect with your friends and family. It gave you a chance to post your frustrations and your triumphs in a public forum. It gave you fun quizzes like, “Who were you in a previous life?” and “What ’90s chick are you?” There were games and memes and gifs and all kinds of fun! Businesses and law firms alike were able to announce important events and gain a following. And if something important happened, all that business had to hit was a bright blue button that read, “Boost Post” and it was sent out to a targeted audience of your design.

Oh yes, it was a grand place.

And then, Facebook messed it all up.

First, it started off with click bait and fake news. And as we barely got over that, we learned all about data harvesting. And if that wasn’t enough, we learned about Cambridge Analytica. Millions upon millions of Facebook users had their data used against them. Thanks to the collected data, Facebook was able to figure out its users’ personality traits in order to present users with the digital ads that were sure to get them clicking. Kinda like “Minority Report.”

The anger and indignation! People swore to leave the social media network, never to return. “We’re going back to MySpace!”

Well, maybe they didn’t say THAT but there was definitely anger.

So in response, Facebook tried to become more transparent. In May, Facebook announced that any ads that had “political content” would receive a label that read: “Sponsored, Paid for by” with the business’ name. In addition, Facebook admins need to verify their identity with Facebook to make sure an authentic person was promoting the content and not a bot or someone overseas. All in an effort to protect their users.

And instead of protecting users, it began to alienate businesses.

This is the personal part of the story.

One of my duties require boosting Facebook posts and creating ads for our clients. Facebook and I have never had any issues in the past about what I could and couldn’t post. We lived in harmony — I did my job, it did its job. That was until May when it first decided the ENX2 Crew had to prove we were who said we were before we could even consider spending money on Facebook ads. Then, after I had to give them my driver’s license, which I didn’t feel too comfortable about, Facebook began rejecting ads left and right, claiming political content. For a post featuring photos of attorneys at a conference. Oh yeah, that’s totally political.

I learned that I had to go through a new verification process that required the following: My driver’s license again; the last four digits of my Social Security number (which I felt even more uncomfortable about); and verification code that was mailed to my apartment. Mailed. Not emailed, not texted. Mailed.

So after I went through this drawn out verification process, I was finally verified. Thank goodness! Back to normal!

Yeah, not so fast, Lindars! Facebook ads were still being disapproved.

Finally, I knew what I had to do. I hopped on a live chat with one of their customer support people. The very nice woman explained to me that not only did I have to verify myself BUT the page needed to be approved to post political posts. She then explained that Facebook may consider the following topics as political content:

  • Abortion
  • Budget
  • Civil rights
  • Crime
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Foreign policy
  • Government reform
  • Guns
  • Health
  • Immigration
  • Infrastructure
  • Military
  • Poverty
  • Social Security
  • Taxes
  • Terrorism
  • Values

So pretty much everything our pages talked about.

Oh, did I mention that all admins had to be verified by Facebook? So not only did I have to go through the process but so did Logan and other ENX2 admins.

Needless to say, we’re not the only ones who are frustrated with Facebook’s new policy. According to the New York Times, some of the businesses that are feeling the political pain include a hair salon, a daycare, a restaurant and an outdoor clothing maker. And if you own a news organization, forget it.

A Facebook director had said the new system does need to get the kinks worked out of it. The system, which uses AI and human reviewers, looks at all components involved in the ad — the text, the photo, the target audience, and any other attributes — to determine if it’s political in nature. And hey, I get it. The beginning is always the hardest and this is better than nothing. And bravo to Facebook for trying to be more transparent. But maybe Facebook should do a few things different, such as:

  • Figure out a better way to verify someone’s identity without asking for a driver’s license or Social Security number. Just looking at my personal profile you can see I am a real person in this country.
  • Clarify your political content topics. “Values” can be anything. I value my cats. Does that mean a boosted post about my cats is considered political content?
  • Take a second look at your review process. Obviously, it needs some work.

So if you are having trouble with your Facebook ads, hey, we’re verified! Contact ENX2 Marketing today to see how we can help you.

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