If you’re new to Facebook Ads, then you probably won’t understand. If you, your company, or your advertising agency runs ads for you, then you’re probably not going to like what you’re about to hear. Whether you’re unfamiliar with Facebook Ads or you’re an expert, there’s a high probability that we have one thing in common: we can’t stand elections, politics, and the cloak-and-dagger tactics and entanglement between social media and political biases.
If you’re a Facebook user, then you’re probably already aware that Facebook has been removing hundreds of thousands of posts, videos and other related content that does not agree with their agenda and back their party. Although there may be no violation of the Facebook TOS (Terms of Service), users all over the world have been experiencing and reporting that their posts, videos, and content has been silently removed from their Facebook feeds without warning. Facebook continues to justify the censorship of their platform by stating that certain posts are “potentially false or misleading“, but they never address the hundreds of thousands of posts removed by users that do not fall into this category.
What many Facebook users don’t understand, is that there is an entire other world of Facebook. A world that they may never know: Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads is a service provided by Facebook, where businesses, companies, or public figures can pay to show their advertisements to users with precision targeting that is unheard of in present times. Businesses can target users with ads based upon basic items such as gender, age, and location. However, businesses can also target users with ads based upon their behaviors. These behaviors can include things such as purchasing behavior, income, interests, things they’ve searched for, pages they’ve liked, places they’ve recently been, and even things they’ve looked at on other sites. With this type of detailed targeting, Facebook Ads is one of the best places to advertise in the world.
However, because of this, many businesses rely on Facebook for their sales and income. Our agency currently manages over $200k per month in advertising spend to Facebook Ads for our clients. These clients pay for ads for their products or services, and we manage the details and results of the campaigns. For many businesses, Facebook Ads is how they’ve managed to become successful. Facebook Advertising is a lucrative business, and can yield results for businesses that most could only ever imagine.
With that being said, there is a also a very, very dark side to Facebook. The reason Facebook is so great at providing ads for businesses, is because every user on Facebook is being tracked, monitored, and every move they make on their devices is taken by Facebook, and relayed back into their ad platform. With this information, Facebook is able to understand each user in-depth, and this understanding is used by their ad platform for businesses to use as targets for their ads. This is how the system works. If you start Googling “cat food”, you’re going to get hit with cat food ads. If you shop on Amazon for purses, you’re going to get served Facebook Ads for purses. If your microphone on your phone picks up you talking about hockey sticks, you’re going to get hockey stick ads. Facebook would not be a great ad platform if it weren’t for them stealing everyone’s data and providing it to advertisers.
What you don’t know, is that Facebook may provide businesses with this impressive database of real-time targeting that is incomprehensibly in-depth, but they also do what they want, when they want, without concern for their users or their own system.
This has been the topic as of late, with the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. Not only has Facebook been censoring posts by users, they’ve also been blocking advertisers for even mentioning anything politically related, or anything to do with social issues. The only way around this for a regular advertiser, is to complete an extended verification through the Facebook Ads platform, in which you will then be allowed to run these types of ads, as long as you play by their rules. The rationale behind this extended verification is that Facebook does not have the resources to monitor the droves of users advertising on their platform, so they create additional verifications to ensure any Joe Blow cannot run ads promoting false information. This part of their process actually makes sense.
The part that doesn’t make sense is the part that has been starting fires in the Facebook Ads community. That part is what Facebook Ads has been doing for the last 90 days of so leading up the election date, which is randomly and thoughtlessly restricting tens of thousands of advertiser accounts for no apparent reason. One day, you’ll log into your advertiser account, and BOOM, you’re blocked from running ads. No explanation, no warning, and no customer service number. If you don’t spend a lot of money on Facebook Ads, then you probably won’t have an account representative, and you are going to have to wait 7-10 business days for an appeal to be reviewed before you can start running ads again. What this means to your business, is that you’re going to lose a crap load of money because your Facebook ads are no longer running, and you’re not selling to any new customers through Facebook for 7-10 business days.
WHY IS YOUR FACEBOOK ADS ACCOUNT BEING RESTRICTED?
If you’re an avid Facebook Advertiser like we are, then you’ll have done enough digging and poking to unveil the reason why Facebook has been restricting advertiser accounts that have not violated their Terms of Service. The key element to be mindful of while we’ve done our digging, is the times we are living in. We have COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Cancel Culture, a Presidential Election, legalization of online gambling, legalization of recreational marijuana, the unveiling of pedophile rings, and the millions of conspiracy theories that go with each. With those things in mind, understand that with over 2 billion Facebook users, Facebook has the power and the ability to control what is real and what isn’t.
1) FACEBOOK WANTS THEIR POLITICAL PARTY’S ADS TO BE CHEAPER
Facebook is an advertising platform that operates in an “auction” fashion. The more advertisers who “bid” on their ads being shown, the more expensive it is for everyone else to show ads. This is how auctions work. If there are less people bidding, then the cost will end up less. With 35,000 advertisers on Facebook restricted and unable to show ads, an advertiser’s CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions) could drop significantly, including those of their political party of choice. So far this year, Joe Biden has reported to have spent more $500 Million in ads. Imagine what kind of an effect that kind of money would have with a 25% drop in ad costs.
2) FACEBOOK DOESN’T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO MONITOR THEIR AD PLATFORM
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has publicly stated that as we close into the election, that Facebook will be turning off features, and taking extreme measures to ensure misinformation is not tainting their platform. What this means in English, is that your ad account may get restricted because they don’t have the staffing to watch over what ads are being ran and reviewed. It just makes sense. There have to be close a million new ads launching daily on the Facebook Ad platform. There is no way that Facebook is going to have that kind of staff to manage that, it’s just obvious. Instead of properly managing their system, they’re going to randomly restrict ad accounts to dial down the number of ads being ran.
3) ELECTION INFLUENCE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR BUSINESS
Facebook has the power to influence elections by repetitively drilling biased information to it’s users, while blocking other information from being shared or posted. Facebook does this while citing that the information they remove, is actually misleading. To give you an example, if you state that your daughter is having a great day, that could be misleading, as she could be just telling you that. ANY information can be misleading, because ALL of this information is being relayed through another source. For example, you don’t definitively know that your shoes were made in the USA. You didn’t see them being made here, did you? No, you just read the label in the shoe that says “MADE IN THE USA”, and you took it for face value. Because you didn’t actually see it, then it’s misleading to Mark Zuckerberg. However, if you post about the Italian Shoes (that MZ loves) then you’re not going to hear a peep from him. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Any information can be misleading, and Facebook is deeming themselves the verifiers of truth and fiction. At the end of the day, their concentration is filtering election posts and ads, and without you in the mix, its easier to manage. That is, until Nov 3rd, when you’ll never have this issue again for another 4 years.
HOW CAN I GET MY FACEBOOK AD ACCOUNT WORKING AGAIN?
You can request a manual review of your account within the popups of the Facebook Ads UI. From what we’ve heard, this process can take 7-10 business days to complete, in which you will not be able to make a move within any of your ad accounts until they’ve reviewed and accepted your appeal. If you have a Facebook Account Rep, then you’ll know that reaching out them will be useless in this case. We have tried reaching out to our representative about this matter, and they have declined to comment, and have continually told us to wait until the appeal process is complete.
HOW FACEBOOK SHOULD BE HANDLING THE ELECTION , ADS, AND CENSORSHIP
Facebook should be what they are, a social media network. They shouldn’t be in the business of determining what’s true, what’s false, what’s misleading, what’s clear, and who or what people should be listening to. Facebook should be the platform that people come to when they want to share ideas, thoughts, or opinions on anything. If the whole world wants to share a conspiracy theory they heard about, then let them! It’s a social network, not a court room. However, there are some things that need to be censored, and most people will agree on these items. They include threats to people, harassment, videos of death or abuse, promotion of a dangerous act, or anything of a similar likeness. Where we don’t agree, is banning anything related to anti-vaccinations, because it can’t be deemed true, and your agenda is to promote vaccines. Facebook (and all companies), should stay out of the business of politics, as it can only ruin their platform beyond repair. If they want to censor dangerous things, then that’s fine. You shouldn’t be censoring opinions or beliefs of fact.
Facebook can be an amazing place for a user or an advertiser. At the same time, Facebook can be a complete trash can of a platform. This is usually not the platform itself, but the actions of the decision-makers behind the platform. Large social media networks, such as Facebook have so many users and so much hard cash, that they can indeed influence elections, social issues, and the viewpoints of a large percentage of the world. Through self-justified censorship, they are able to remove things they don’t like, and keep things they like, without any explanation or reasoning. Elections and political viewpoints have sidestepped Facebook from a social media and advertising platform, into a court room that is sponsored by the highest bidder’s political party. The beauty of social media is in the information, and so is the darkness. Knowledge is power.