Facebook’s Automated Ad Program Hurts SMBs, Merchants Claim

Advertisers from small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are complaining about Facebook‘s automated ad program, saying random and unwarranted account lockouts are damaging their businesses, Bloomberg reported.

One digital advertiser quoted by Bloomberg, Chris Raines, said his account suddenly stopped working in the middle of setting up a new advertising campaign, rendering him unable to do his job. In addition, the site kept running his ad campaign even though he was locked out and unable to manage it, according to Bloomberg.

There were other ad creators reporting similar issues, bleeding money as they tussled with Facebook’s automated system and ad programs to be let back into their own accounts, the report stated.

Facebook has turned more to automated systems in a bid to help detect fraud easier and to do away with bad actors and inappropriate content with more precision, Bloomberg reported. However, it has also occasionally been too good at its job, hurting some businesses by blocking innocuous holiday ads. There have been several Change.org petitions made over the years to get the site to change its policies.

Facebook ads, according to Bloomberg, require more attention than buying physical ones on TV or a billboard, with more detail letting people tailor their ads in more specific ways. Ad campaigns can be modified as they go on if they’re discovered to be performing poorly, which is difficult to do if one is locked out erroneously. Users are asked to prove their identity to get back into their accounts, but Raines and others had trouble with that aspect.

Facebook told Bloomberg the system the company uses manages to catch 99.9 percent of the spam it finds on the site. Issues mostly stem from the fact that the company doesn’t have a strong system to deal with SMBs all the time, Bloomberg reported, with few SMBs having customer service contact with a human.

In separate news, Facebook in August debuted a new tool letting users prevent their information being used for targeted advertising. However, despite advertising this as a way for users to control their Facebook experiences, the company won’t be deleting the data from servers completely, still collecting the data but not linking it to specific accounts.