CNET: Facebook apologizes for showing baby product ads to woman who lost her child. “Facebook has apologized after a British woman who lost her child continued to see baby product ads after changing her advertising preference on the site. Anna England-Kerr found that her feed ‘was filled with ads for baby things’ despite using the social media site to share the news that her daughter had been stillborn and changing her settings to avoid such advertising, she wrote in an open letter to the company.”
New York Times: In Virginia House Race, Anonymous Attack Ads Pop Up on Facebook. “A competitive race in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District has an alarming new element: anonymous attack ads on Facebook. The ads, which appeared on a Facebook page called ‘Wacky Wexton Not,’ were purchased by a critic of Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat trying to unseat Representative Barbara Comstock, a Republican. The race is one of the most closely watched in the country.” Meanwhile, Chipotle free delivery ads are being flagged as political?
CBS 8: Facebook takes down ads mentioning African-Americans and Hispanics, calling them political. “Dozens of advertisements removed from Facebook for being political ahead of the November midterm elections did not appear to express any political view, a USA TODAY analysis showed. The Facebook ads from businesses, universities, nonprofits and other organizations did seem to have something in common: They mentioned ‘African-American,’ ‘Latino,’ ‘Hispanic,’ ‘Mexican,’ ‘women,’ ‘LGBT’ or were written in Spanish. Even offers of free delivery from Chipotle Mexican Grill were mislabeled as political until an inquiry from USA TODAY.”
CNET: Facebook accused of misleading advertisers, then trying to hide it. “Facebook knew it was misleading advertisers about the average time users spent watching videos long before admitting it. And it tried to shift attention from the error, a lawsuit says. The social network revealed in September 2016 that it artificially inflated the metric for two years because it only counted videos as viewed if they had been watched for three or more seconds — failing to taking shorter views into account — and possibly misleading advertisers.”
Phys .org: Facebook requires UK political ad buyers to reveal identity. “Facebook says anyone who takes out a British political ad on the social media platform will now be forced to reveal their identity, in a bid to increase transparency and curb misinformation. The company said Tuesday that it will also require disclaimers for any British political advertisements, which will be archived for seven years in a publicly accessible database.”
CNET: Facebook will ban false voting information during midterm elections, report says. “In an effort to battle voter manipulation on its platform, Facebook will reportedly ban misinformation about voting leading up to and during the US midterm elections in November.” Is anyone taking bets on how much Facebook will actually enforce this policy? I’ve got some money to put on “minimally if at all.”
PR Newswire: Google, Facebook, and Twitter Release Data on Political Ads (More or Less) (PRESS RELEASE). “Using cutting-edge machine learning and data scraping tools, computer scientists at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering today released the first database and analysis of political advertising based on more than 884,000 ads identified by Google, Twitter, and Facebook. The team launched their user-friendly Online Political Ads Transparency Project in July with data from Facebook, which was the first company to provide it. But the researchers were forced to switch techniques when Facebook blocked their data collection two weeks later. Today’s report is the first to include not only Facebook (including Instagram), but data newly shared by Twitter and Google.”