Signal exposes Facebook on Instagram, Facebook bans its ads
In another shocking incident that could tarnish Facebook's brand image, Signal displayed ads on Instagram illustrating how frighteningly intrusive the platform's data collection practices are to the target audience. Facebook took down the ads and even banned Signal's account on its ad platform. In a blog post, Signal said that being transparent about how ads use people's data is enough to get banned.
Signal is an open-source privacy-centric WhatsApp alternative founded in 2018
Signal's ads demonstrated the specificity that Facebook sold to advertisers
Signal's now-banned advertisements on Instagram didn't promote Signal explicitly. Instead, they laid bare everything that Instagram's parent company Facebook shares with advertisers. The ads displayed the reason why one was being targeted, what their location was, and a few extremely personal details that Facebook had learned about them in the recent past. Signal simply returned to the users, the data that Facebook was selling.
Facebook's technology isn't for you, its for your data: Signal
In its blog post, Signal explained that "companies like Facebook aren't building technology for you, they're building technology for your data." In fact, Facebook even failed to catch a rampant phishing scam last month that used the company's own advertising to target Messenger users.
Signal says Facebook essentially sells visibility into people's lives
After being booted off Facebook's advertising platform, Signal said that "Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people's lives, unless it is to tell people about how their data is being used." "In Facebook's world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you're doing from your audience," Signal's blog added. It compared Facebook to a spying stranger who knows you well.
'The Social Dilemma': A must-watch explaining how social media works
Signal's brilliant campaign is reminiscent of a line from the documentary The Social Dilemma: "If you're not paying for the product, then you are the product". We recommend watching this movie to understand how social media companies mint money without charging you a dime.
You actually consented to Facebook collecting your data
That said, gone are the days when people would be on Facebook to stay connected and bridge boundaries. Today, an increasing number of privacy-conscious individuals are seeking alternatives to Facebook and its subsidiaries. It's not that Facebook has been collecting your data without consent. Signal said that data policies are "concealed within complex, opaquely rendered systems and fine print designed to be scrolled past".