Signal posts the ads that Facebook banned it for trying to run there

Originally published at: Signal posts the ads that Facebook banned it for trying to run there | Boing Boing


Streisand Effect ahoy, Zuck!


So a company complains that it can’t show its ads on Facebook. Not sympathetic, no matter the message. Saves me time hiding the ad manually.

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Whatever happened to capitalists selling us the rope?


I don’t think anyone is surprised Facebook took the ads down; getting banned was kind of the point.

Ah man, I’m so sorry I didn’t get to experience these ads for myself. I’d be fascinated to see what Facebook’s ad network thinks of me (because I’m pretty sure they have plenty of data despite not being on Facebook, and some it might even be accurate).


I’m not so sure. Getting banned gets the ads to a larger audience (and gets it there faster), but seeing your own personal ad I think would have hit much harder.

Like a lot of things many people don’t care so much when it is “in theory”, or happens to “other people”, but when it happens for real to you it can really wake you up.

Like it is one thing to see that Facebook knows some other person lives in San Fran, but when it knows where you live it is an eye opener (I mean I wrote software to do that ~20 years ago for Apache logs). For me I’ve internalized that an IP address can generally map to a town without a lot of effort, I think I wouldn’t be shocked to see it “for reals”, but humans are funny animals sometimes.

There are also a lot of people that don’t know “in theory” what FB knows about them. I’m not so sure about job, interest, or recent purchases. Like I think FB thinks they know that about a lot of people. Do they know it for me? A lot of that would be easy for a human to figure out (if they knew my Quora account…and I may have said what I do for a job on BB somewhere…and I told LinkedIN so MS could have sold that info, or maybe FB could have scraped it). I’m not as sure what a computer can figure out. Although FB should well know I love the Shadows of Brimstone boardgame since I basically only have a FB account to talk about/read about SoB. I don’t talk about my job on FB, does it know? I don’t talk about other hobbies on FB except when they intersect with SoB (I laser cut stuff for SoB and for my wife’s painting hobby which is SoB related…). Does it know who my wife is (we are “friends” on FB, but if it parses text Ok it had ample clues).

So there are some good guesses FB might have about me.

Does FB know what car I drive? How many pets I have? I haven’t told it. Has it figured it out? Did it guess that if my wife has 3 dogs that so do I? Does it think I like cats (that would be a logical guess, but wrong; cats like me, I don’t break their little hearts, but I don’t need to actually like them!).

Depending on what FB figured out about me I could be really shocked.


I’d like to see what data Facebook has on me, and I’d like them to delete it. But to even find out what they have you must join Facebook. That’s some catch, that Catch-22.


I click on a lot of thing I am only vaguely interested in and when i start getting ads I just mark them all as “irrelevant” or “too personal” (The latter for generic ads for basics or food and such especially) and never ever fill out the profile or whatever it is they suggest so you get better ads.

Try and make a useful analysis off of my facebook viewing and it will go nowhere useful.

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You’re absolutely right, which is why I wonder if Signal really thought they were going to get away with it for very long.

I deleted my FB acct probably 10 years ago and I still don’t think I’d be surprised about anything they might have figured out about me! Like radioactive dust in the atmosphere, the data just gets everywhere.


Wait. Facebook has ads? Maybe that’s what is supposed to show on all that empty, white space on both left and right of the screen. How about that! (NoScript + AdBlocker Ultimate FTW)


Just based on what the ad networks show me, I figure Facebook’s dataset on me is going to be weird.


Or not:

Signal banned for booking obviously targeted ads? That story’s too good to be true, Facebook claims

Facebook, however, has dismissed Signal’s account of what happened as a marketing scheme.

“This is a stunt by Signal, [which] never even tried to actually run these ads – and we didn’t shut down their ad account for trying to do so,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Register in an email.


That very much depends where you live. If you live in the EU or UK then you can just make a subject access request and get everything in whatever medium (electronic, paper etc) that you specify.


Maybe California also? Didn’t they basically copy the EU’s GDPR?

“Facebook” immediately “blocked Signal’s advertising” account after it aimed to “run” an ad campaign to show Instagram users how,
“Facebook” collects “their”. Signal" said that “Facebook” is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives unless it’s to tell people about how “their” data is being used

At a guess they recognized they had a no-lose position. Either the ad runs for a long time and is successful at giving a modest number of people a vicerial gut punch with how much FB knows about them, or it gets pulled by FB and a vast number of people get a light dusting of how much FB knows about “other people”.

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