(NEWS CENTER) - On Thursday, Facebook creator and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook Live to address the recent discovery of more than than one-hundred thousand dollars spent on political ads bought by fake Russian accounts throughout the 2016 election.
Zuckerberg spoke about Facebook’s cooperation with investigators by sharing data, he said, can’t yet be made available to the public. So what did these ads do and what does it mean for you?
207’s social media contributor, Brett Whitmarsh says about a hundred thousand dollars was used to buy Facebook ads and roughly 3,000 targeted ads based on political content. Mark Zuckerberg says their own internal investigation is still on going.
Brett says the following changes were announced today by Zuckerberg:
-Continued investigation both internal and with the US Government
-More transparent political ads
-Better policy on political ads
-Stronger security investment
-Partnerships with election commissions
-More tech community partnerships- sharing of information/threats
-Increase the anti-bullying work
So all of this begs the question, how can we take back some control over how we are advertised to on Facebook right now?
According to Brett, this is where the consumer has a lot of power. Facebook is free, and you are the cost. Recently the NY Times shared the statistic that the average person spends one in every five minutes on Facebook. You’re the cost. So be in control of it. Facebook offers easy to navigate tools that allow you to see why you’re being advertised to and who whom? They offer some ways to access these ads, but the easiest is to start with the first advertisement you see. If on the app, look for the three little dots in the upper right-hand corner and tap on them.
If you’re on desktop use the down arrow in the same spot in the upper right-hand corner. Both will prompt a window. Here you can report the ad if it’s offensive, hide the ad or look into why you’re being advertised to. This opens up the settings where you can control what interests, likes or other information Facebook is looking at you with. Now some would say let’s turn all of it off, but you can design these to advertise to your interests and areas you want to see. This tool allows for that.
If you use Google Chrome on your computer, there is a Chrome pulgin called Turbo Ad Finder. It’s a free tool, but when you turn it on, your entire feed shows you all of the advertisements being targeted to you. You can then go through and turn off ads or report them. The more information like this you can give back to Facebook about advertisers, the more it helps them fight the junk.
So how can you spot fake ads on Facebook? One method is to look for repetition of word-for-word status posts. These would be in trending topics or other odd areas. These posts tend to trend to scoop up followers. Other than that I would defer to the On the Media Fake News Consumer guide:
-Check if the information has a legitimate news source
-Report it if it doesn’t
-If the story plays on your emotions, then it might not be real
-See if it has the wording of sponsored or advertisement around .it
Brett has also posted these links that will help you better manage your Facebook ads. Here they are:
For more reading:
How Facebook is changing the internet: https://www.facebook.com/
Chrome plug in for Facebook Ad Blocker: Turbo Ad Finder:
Tips on Taking back your privacy: