Is it time for advertisers to hold Facebook accountable?

Despite all the fake news on Facebook their revenue, from ads, is still increasing.  It’s time, however, to admit that Facebook is just a media company, and as such should be regulated as any other media company despite their attempt at secrecy and Zuckerberg’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of what Facebook has become.

According to Business Insider “after months of public outcry in the U.S., Facebook has finally agreed to take seriously charges that the social network played a substantive role in shaping the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.   On an earnings call earlier last week, Zuckerberg told investors and reporters “how upset I am that the Russians tried to use our tools to sow mistrust,” adding that he was “dead serious” about findings ways to tackle the problem. That would be a positive step — but it must also extend to examining Facebook’s tricky impacts in the rest of the world”.

But have we been conned and do we continue to be conned?

In the early days of social media, and Facebook, both social media experts and Facebook told marketers they “had to be on Facebook”.  Then organic reach dropped to below 1% and Facebook told us again that we had to be on the site as advertisers.  Brands flocked to social media but Facebook said that it had messed up more ad metrics than previously thought, potentially eroding its trust and relationship with marketers and publishers.  The social network said in a blog post it miscalculated the number of completed video views, the total organic reach for business Pages and the amount of time spent with Instant Articles.

 Time and time again Facebook has undermined its credibility by making claims that are easily proven to be false, and then defended these claims with statements that are absurd.   It was reported, for example,  that Facebook was claiming to reach 41 million Americans between the ages of 18-24. If Facebook reached every American between 18 and 24 they’d still be 10 million short. There are only 31 million of them.

Even P&G, that huge marketing powerhouse, is pulling back on Facebook.  According to the Wall Street JournalProcter & Gamble Co., the biggest advertising spender in the world, will move away from advertising on Facebook Inc. that targets specific consumers after deciding the practice has limited effectiveness”.

Unfortunately, too many online advertisers are sheep .  They believe the hype around Facebook and willingly shovel cash at them even though consumers are avoiding the ads like a visit to the dentist.

Marketers are coming under more and more scrutiny and they are being held accountable for ROI.  If this is really true, then why are they still flocking to Facebook? Does Facebook get a free pass for all the fake news and ads by the Russians that appeared on its site? Can a social network as big as Facebook even police itself?

Brand and agencies need to better job of online marketing which means better creative not using Facebook because of their numbers.  I also believe that Congress needs to regulate Facebook as a media property because simply that’s what they are.

 

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