Signal is becoming more and more like the underdog everyone deserves. The encrypted messaging app is messing with the big boys and it’s not holding back on its punches. Signal just released a series of advertisements to showcase just how companies like Facebook use your data to show you ads that related in some part to the data they collect about you. Signal posted everything in their own blog post.
The stunt left Signal with a blocked ad account but since Signal says it will never run ads so I guess that won’t be an issue for them. Signal brands itself as a privacy-positive company. In their blog post, they called out the privacy policies and Instagram and Facebook, with Facebook being Instagram’s parent company. Both social media platforms use the same AdTech tools and platforms.
Facebook and Instagram have almost all access to what you do on their platforms. Ranging from who you follow, to what comments you like. Which pages you like to what your employment status is. They even collect stuff like relationship status, city, skincare interests, and music interests. Signal crafted their own ads in a way to show how each detail about you is used by Facebook and Instagram.
You can take a look at the tweet below.
According to Jun Harada, head of growth and communication at Signal, “It’s already possible to catch fragments of these truths in the ads you’re shown; they are glimmers that reflect the world of a surveilling stranger who knows you”. According to Signal, they created this multivariate targeted ad campaign to show just how social media giants “sell visibility into people and their lives”.
Moxie Marlinspike, CEO of Signal, also tweeted a sample of the ads they ran. Signal’s post noted that “This isn’t exactly a secret, but the full picture is hazy to most – dimly concealed within complex, opaquely rendered systems and fine print designed to be scrolled past”. This is entirely true. Most people who use these platforms don’t know just how valuable their information is for these companies and how they use it to learn things about you. It can also be a kind of weak brainwashing, by showing you an ad related to you, again and again, to make you interested in it.
Facebook was surely not fond of being targeted in a marketing campaign like this so it has banned Signal’s ad account. The post said that “The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses. Facebook was not into that idea”.
You’re reading this article because you’re a human but more importantly, you’re trying to pass the time.