Rants

Why You Will Never Convince Me That Facebook Gives a Damn About Fake Ads and Fake News

Facebook’s been making a lot of noises about how they care about fake news and how they don’t want it on their site and blah blah blah. I see enough fake clickbait ads on the site that I didn’t put much faith in its protestations. But what I saw this afternoon just puts the tin lid on it.

I came across this ad on Facebook today:

That is Michelle Obama. And of course there has been no news that she is getting divorced. Anybody who vets ads for Facebook should be knowledgeable enough about current events to be able to call shenanigans on the claim that the President of the United States is getting divorced.

I clicked it. And after a moment I got the following screen:

Oh look, my Windows installation has problems!

Except I was running ChromeOS at the time. This is obviously a tech support scam. (And even with ChromeOS it kept popping up windows for a few minutes before I hit it with a stick.)

So: incredibly fake story about Michelle Obama, that when you click on it leads to a tech support scam.

I have bought advertising on Facebook for literally years. In my experience, all ads are reviewed before they’re allowed on the site. Someone looked at this ad, said, “eh, no problem,” and let it through?

Until I stop seeing obviously fraudulent advertising like this on Facebook (and believe me, there are other examples), I’m going to treat any statements from Facebook on the matter as about as credible as the announcement that Barack Obama will be Donald Trump’s Secretary of State.

Though I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw an ad about that on Facebook.

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