Facebook Could Be Banning Ads For 'Bad Businesses'

Image: Facebook

A little while ago, Facebook banned ads from cryptocurrency ICOs (initial coin offerings) and has clamped down on other finance-related advertisers. But it seems that all advertisers could be under greater scrutiny. A new global policy, which is now being rolled out, will use customer feedback to provide guidance to advertisers to let them know of problems. But, if the problems persist and aren't actioned, then Facebook could ban the advertiser completely.

For the most part, this seems like a great idea. Many us are accustomed to leaving feedback after shopping online and using that feedback to help advertisers improve their service is a good idea.

Facebook says they are particularly focussed on a few key areas including "ads that quote inaccurate shipping times or that misrepresent products". The company says they'll provide advice to the advertisers when the complaint levels suggest some assistance in improving service is needed.

But if things don't improve then the advertiser could see the number of ads they can publish reduced or they could even be banned.

I can understand where Facebook is going. After all the negative publicity about the platform, they are trying to make it better. But Facebook ads are also a significant part of many businesses' marketing plans and cutting ads could be a real problem. If enough bad reviews are left, then new customers should see that and make the decision for themselves.

I'm not sure we need Facebook playing the role of the customer service police. There are already consumer protection laws and enforcement regimes in many countries that do that. Why Facebook feels the need to get into this seems like overreach to me. Markets are good at weeding out businesses that don't deliver.

I'm all for them banning obviously shonky ads like for ICOs and dodgy financial services. And their post about these changes doesn't pay a lot of attention to what could happen if someone poisons the feedback system in order to harm a competitor.

Is this overreach or reasonable? What do you think?


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