Signal exposes Facebook’s practices for displaying ads

During the last months, Facebook has again become the protagonist of many headlines due to its conflict with Manzana. Those from Cupertino, as you surely know, launched App Tracking Transparency, a proposal that allows disable tracking completely apps on iOS (as of iOS 14.5). This system, of course, is hurting Facebook’s main source of income: the advertising. That is why those led by Mark Zuckerberg have been very vocal about it.

However, an unexpected new actor has added to the controversy surrounding the two California giants. Is about Signal, the privacy-focused messaging app. It should be remembered, by the way, that Signal gained popularity after the change of WhatsApp conditions at the beginning of 2021. Well, it seems that the platform is clear which side it intends to support, albeit indirectly.

Signal exposed Facebook’s practices for displaying targeted ads. We know that the social network needs a gold mine of personal data for its advertising system to function optimally. The funny thing is that they are not willing to accept any publicity, especially when it leaves them in evidence. Signal dared to challenge the mettle of Facebook and they reacted in predictable ways.

Facebook rejects Signal ads

Through his blog, Signal explains that they tried to display ads for their application on Facebook and Instagram. Such advertising, however, included messages for people to understand the risk of giving so much data to Facebook.

«You are seeing this ad because you are a PRACTICING with a MASTER’S DEGREE IN ART HISTORY. Also DIVORCED. This ad used your location to see that you are in LONDON. Your online activity shows that you are engaging in the BOXING, and you’re probably getting there in your new MOTORCYCLE.

The campaign was a true work of art, as the highlighted words can be perfectly replaced by the data that you have provided to the social network yourself. Can you imagine being browsing and seeing an ad that describes you perfectly? Well, this is what Signal was trying to do to expose all the information that Facebook has about you. It is “sinister”, yes, but also possible. Obviously, Facebook rejected Signal’s ads.

«Companies like Facebook they are not building technology for you, they are building technology for your data. They collect everything they can from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in order to sell visibility in people’s lives. This is not exactly a secret, but the whole picture is confusing for most, “they noted. And they end their statement bluntly:

“Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell them how their data is being used. Being transparent about how ads use people’s information is apparently enough to get you kicked out. In the world of Facebook, the only acceptable use is to hide what you are doing from your audience. “