Signal, the messaging app popular among privacy advocates, reportedly attempted to run ads on Instagram. The ad campaign ridiculed Facebook for its extensive data collection practices, and extremely customized and targeted promotions.
Facebook is infamous for commodifying the data of its 2 Billion+ users. Signal recently attempted to take a dig at the social media giant’s practices and claims its ad account on Instagram was banned for doing so.
Signal designed ads that “exposed” the types of data Facebook collects and sells:
Instant messaging platform Signal, designed the multi-variant ads that attempt to show social media users the types of data that Facebook collects. The ads claimed to reveal how advertisers and businesses pay and get access to the treasure trove of user data.
Signal made Instagram ads that shows users how much Facebook knew about them.
Facebook banned them.
— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) May 4, 2021
The ads were interesting and engaging because they delivered the message in a simple and effective manner. These ads, however, never made it onto the public forums.
Signal claims Facebook took proactive steps to disable the ads. Moreover, the social media giant disabled Signal’s ad account on Instagram.
We absolutely did try to run these. The ads were rejected, and Facebook disabled our ad account. These are real screenshots, as Facebook should know. pic.twitter.com/HyvIcsZOca
— Signal (@signalapp) May 5, 2021
Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne quickly retaliated, claiming Signal never really ran the ads. As for disabling Signal’s ad account, Osborne claimed it was for a completely different reason.
According to Facebook, Signal lost access to the ad account in March. It was due to a “payment issue”. The ad account wasn’t disabled in response to the ads that attempted to lay out the ways in which user data is hawked.
Why is Signal, a messaging app, targeting Facebook?
Facebook and Signal aren’t competing for the same audience, at least in the social media ecosystem. The companies are, however, rivals in the instant messaging space.
Facebook owns WhatsApp, Instagram, FB Messenger, and other communication platforms. Needless to mention, instant messaging platforms such as Telegram and Signal have gained a lot of new users recently.
Facebook’s response: pic.twitter.com/xhPTVfmLBQ
— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) May 5, 2021
— Android Police (@AndroidPolice) May 5, 2021
However, several experts claim Facebook doesn’t want its users to become aware of just how much the company knows about them. The recent spat with Apple Inc. over the App Tracking Transparency is an excellent example.
Facebook even reportedly pushed pop-up notices asking iOS users to let the Facebook and Instagram apps track their usage while claiming this kept the platforms free and tracking helps businesses.
With WhatsApp and Apple Inc., Facebook is constantly under increasing public scrutiny. There’s no doubt that the social media giant is one of the biggest user data collectors, harvesters, and sellers.