Culture

Facebook Cracking Down on 'Bad Actors' Peddling Sketchy Products

For those of us forced to spend a lot of time on Facebook, or even for those who elect to use the platform, the advertising seems to be more burdensome every day.

Most of the advertising is done by legitimate companies and, on occasion, can be helpful. I recently overcame my reluctance to try an offer on a sponsored Facebook ad and immediately wondered why I’d been so hesitant.

However, as with any advertising, not every company advertising on the platform is operating in good faith.

Facebook is upping its efforts to identify and stop them.

If you’re looking for a deal on weight loss supplements, a potion that magically smooths all your wrinkles, or something to build bulging muscles, it’ll be harder to find it on Facebook.

The social network has strict rules about the advertisements it allows, prohibiting before-and-after pictures, pornography, snake oil and aggressive business offers.

But the companies that sell these shady products are, not shockingly, comfortable breaking Facebook’s policies. Some partake in a practice called “cloaking,” where they direct Facebook’s algorithms and human reviewers to a legitimate landing page, while sending unsuspecting users somewhere else entirely.

Facebook (FBTech30) announced on Wednesday it has increased its efforts over the past few months to crack down on “bad actors,” identifying them and banning them from the service. It said it has caught thousands of advertisers breaking the rules during that time.

The company admits that the problem isn’t widespread, but that it’s focusing on going after the shady types because “it can be a pretty jarring or negative experience” for those who end up getting lured in by them.

Much of what Facebook has done in the way of changes or cracking down has seemed random or unhelpful. Its decision to go after “fake news” left many wondering if the company would be making determinations about what was and wasn’t fake based on its seemingly obvious liberal bias.

This effort, however, is probably something almost every Facebook user can get behind.