The Facebook advertising your company creates will be viewable by anybody who cares enough to look thanks to new changes to the social media giant’s platform made to help secure Canadian democracy from ‘fake news’.
However you feel about the political events of the last few years, most people will agree that one of the most troubling aspects has been the outpouring of ‘fake news’. Everyone will have seen it in their feed by now: links to news articles that look like the real thing but will be on ‘CMM.co.au’, pushing dubious and highly polarised narratives. Perhaps they’re the work of elite Russian government hackers, perhaps they’re made by Macedonia teenagers who want to buy BMWs, but they’re bad news for countries that rely on informed electorates to make decisions.
Election integrity in Canada has become a major issue after the US, UK, Germany, Austria and others were all inundated with fake news during elections. Even though geopolitics and spy-vs-spy stuff might be a million miles from your business, the changes made by the Canadian Election Integrity Initiative and Facebook affect anyone who advertises on Facebook. The site’s users will now be able to see all of the adverts your company has ever made. Apparently, your racist uncle is going to make sure that the post he shared about Trump’s 400-point IQ was well-sourced.
Political adverts will be under particular scrutiny. Each one will be accompanied by detailed information on how much was spent to promote them, the number of impressions and the demographics of who the ad reached. If you want to create political ads you’ll need to provide detailed documentation to verify your identity.
Some companies won’t be affected by this change at all, and many Facebook advertising users won’t even know it’s there or won’t be inclined to use it. Realistically, how will it affect you? Everyone’s advertising being out there 24/7 means you’ll have to be more careful about your ads: a tasteless advertisement could come back to haunt you. Although most users will ignore the ads, they’ll always be there to trip you up if you don’t get them right the first time.
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