Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook and come across a great review for a product you were looking to buy? You jump for joy and immediately feel comfortable with your purchase. But then you find out that the glowing review was actually an ad, posted by the company in hopes of enticing you to make a purchase.
Searching for reliable information on social media can be exhausting. Opinions from family and friends are getting harder to come by as businesses continue to run advertisements and make them look like organic content. It’s hard to know what posts can be trusted and which ones are just trying to sell you something.
That’s why the call for transparency across the social media landscape is growing louder by the day. Right now, everything we view on social media has questions marks around it. Is this real? Is it authentic? Can I trust it? Authentic content is more important now than it ever was, as social media platforms try to regain the trust of their users.
Thankfully, social media platforms are starting to answer this call for transparency. Twitter was the first to jump on board by launching its Ad Transparency Center, a place that allows users to see any ad purchased by any account at any time.
Next, Facebook addressed the issue. Recently, the social media giant announced it would increase transparency on the platform by allowing users to see what ads were being run by any Facebook page across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. This feature will aid in transparency by allowing any interested person to view any ads the page is currently running by clicking on a “View Ads” tab. It won’t, however, show more specific data such as total ad spend or the specific targeting of that ad.
Allowing for a way to easily see paid content will show users when content is authentic, versus content that comes from a paid source. From the business side, these changes will make advertisers more honest when creating and posting ads for their products. This is a great first step in increasing transparency in social media and should give you some comfort the next time you’re scrolling through Facebook.