Facebook, metastasised.

Facebook, metastasised.

Here we are again, coffee in one hand, yet another article on click fraud in the other. Nothing says Thursday like a good ol’ fashioned click fraud scandal. Or, in this case, any kind of fraud, really. Something to really get those juices flowing.

Today’s topic, Facebook – or rather – Meta.

A new era, claims our friendly neighborhood android, Mark Zuckerberg: “Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can't possibly represent everything that we're doing today, let alone in the future,” he said. “Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and identity on what we're building toward.”

If that statement doesn’t scream out, ‘Humble’, then I just don’t know. I’m done. I mean honestly, how far up the conglomerate colon can one’s brain-container possibly be?

They’ve really missed the mark here though. Why settle for Meta. Why not rebrand to ‘LotKC’? Also known as: ‘Leaders of the Known Cosmos’.

Oh man. But how meta are they, exactly? Surely not meta enough to comment on their platforms adverse effects on teenagers’ mental health. Definitely not meta enough to comment on their malicious ‘Growth over Safety’ practices.

Could it be that they are too meta…? Already living in this mixed reality that’s being retroactively created at the same time? Just HOW META ARE THEY?!

This Meta rebranding announcement comes at a time that is, let’s say, not so good for Facebook and its subsidiaries. Let’s see:

  • They recently experienced a 6-Hour service outage that resulted in around $79 Million in lost advertising revenue. LINK
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the company (Facebook) is well aware of the adverse effects on teenagers’ mental health. LINK
  • Frances Haugen, whistleblower-extraordinaire recently alleged that the tech conglomerate’s business model is currently set to prioritise ‘Growth over Safety’ & is ‘Making Hate Worse’. Some very bold statements, indeed. LINK

All of this makes for some interesting reading and begs the question, why?

Answering that question in detail would probably cause the world to implode but here is the incredibly watered-down answer: Because they can.

As you are all probably very well aware, Facebook has been caught up in countless scandals over the years. The election debacle, cat-fishing scandals, misappropriate collection of data. Listing everything would quite literally take up the entirety of this article, you get my drift.

I’m trying to find ways to compare 2006 Facebook Vs. 2021 Facebook (Meta) and it’s proving to be much more difficult than I imagined. I can’t help but see it as a pretty straightforward evolution of the company’s values — as dictated by societal norms throughout that timeframe. Almost as if they’ve always been teetering on the edge of socially acceptable boundaries.

Our botnet article mentions how Google AdSense has pretty much dominated the online advertisement space. A ‘Monadpoly’, if you will. LINK

However, The Social Media space was rife with opportunity and it did not take long for Facebook to capitalise on one of the fastest growing industries in modern time. And after years – a decade even – of user data collection, Facebook (including Instagram, Facebook Messenger & the Audience Network) boasts one of the most intricate and maximised advertisement targeting systems of our time.

To give you a better picture, Facebook’s ad revenue in 2020 was up 21% compared to 2019 and resulted in $84 Billion. In comparison, Google’s 2020 ad revenue weighed in at $147 Billion. This goes to show how fast Facebook is playing the catch-up game.

As with Google, Ad Fraud is still prevalent here (to a lesser extent) but is mostly attributed to:

  • Click Farms
  • Competitors
  • Accidental Clicks
  • Bots or web crawlers

The difference however, is that while Google doesn’t actively affect your ads, Facebook has algorithms in place that don’t not affect your ads, if that makes sense.

Facebook allows you to set very specific audience targeting parameters which allow you to combat ad fraud more effectively but at the same time almost seem to penalise you for not hitting those notes at perfect pitch.

Let’s take ‘Likes’ for example. When starting out with a Facebook ad campaign, you can set your desired objective. In our case, Likes.

Now, Facebook wants us to know how very diligent they are in taking action against ‘fake likes’ or ‘bought likes’ from click farms or the like… (I’m sorry).

Though, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, that may very well be the most hypocritical bull**** statement that I have ever heard in my life.

When you set your campaign objective to: receive likes (for awareness, etc) – not unlike the 5 stages of grief – I expect your reaction will be something akin to the following:

  • Surprise & amazement: “Oh my god, wow, I got how many likes?!
  • Excitement & anticipation: “So many new likes, I can’t wait to interact & engage with all these new fans!”
  • Confusion: “Wai- Wait a minute… Why are so many of these likes from Azerbaijan…?”
  • Pure bewilderment: “Woah. Woah. What the hell? Why are all of these likes from Azerbaijan??!!”
  • Disappointment & Frustration: “Ok. What the hell am I supposed to do with these random likes that will not only never engage with my business but will ALSO prevent me from appearing higher up in related content because of their disinterest.

You see my friends, Facebook itself may very well be a click farm. Facebook wants to give you likes IF you’re buying them from Facebook. But don’t go looking elsewhere now, you hear?

The reality of the matter is that Facebook’s algorithm will try and get as close to your objectives as possible. In whatever way possible. These random likes, or follows, or whatever it ends up being in the metaverse, they’re pointless. They offer nothing except the lining of yet another conglomerate’s pockets.

The moral of this story:

Be smart with your Ad Spend. Consider click fraud solutions (with free monitoring) such as AdClickProtect to make sure you’re getting the most out of your hard earned pennies, and try and look at the overall picture, not just empty promises.

Fun fact:
Facebook’s security page is most popular/liked in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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