Facebook Takes Steps to Reduce Unwanted & Inaccurate Health Ads on the Newsfeed

The concept of Ads on social platforms, the internet and even mobile apps has become a thing now. It was not so long ago that these were considered nothing but a nuisance. Slowly though, matters got out of hand and suddenly we saw ourselves surrounded by a sea of ads, on web pages, in apps. Heck! Even YouTube and Facebook have started to show ads. It honestly gets quite annoying. But hey! In this aggressively capitalist society, big industries have to bow down to the whims of the market due to all this pressure and competition. Revenue generation is what it is all about. Even in the field of entrepreneurship, they care less about your product, your idea and care more about how well and efficiently you’d bring in the funds.

Anyway, not to go off topic but first we have to realise how these ads even work. What makes these pop up randomly and yet are related to the stuff we have or may have remotely searched for. To know all of that, first, let me clarify how the caching system works.

Caching & Ads

Basically, whenever we go to a new website or one which we may have visited before, not only do we leave traces of our IP address but much smarter people than myself have made it a bit smoother. For a lack of better words, smarter people have developed a way to store data onto our cache and then pre load it as soon as we go to that website in order to reduce the time it takes to load web pages. Now, these cache stores are on our PCs and when we access websites like Google, Facebook or other social apps, they extract data from these stores. What happens then is that even users would have noticed this.

The difference between Caching and No caching

Imagine you have a video on and not too long ago, you were searching the web for, for instance, PS4 games. The ad would be related to the sites you visited and saw. While it may come off as a creepy realisation, rest assured that these sites are not spying on you.

Facebook & Inaccurate Posts

Now that the readers know how these cache reserves work in pushing custom ads towards us, we move towards the news at hand. Lately, these ads and related posts are pushed on our timelines on Facebook. While some may argue that these are a good thing. Speaking of medical aids and our health related claims, there have been many signs of users getting these “tips and tricks”.

According to a recent report by 9to5Mac, ads aren’t the only ones polluting our news feeds. People working for certain companies also push their “knowledge” towards us. This may include “miraculous” hair loss remedies, weight loss “hacks” and so much more. The sad part is how much they enforce these false claims and ideas in order to push their products to the end users.

Facebook Ads
Ads on Facebook have lately been quite rigorous

In order to counter this, Facebook announced today that they have taken certain steps in order to relieve the end users from the issues. Previously even, Facebook had established a ranking system for posts regarding health. Now though, they have a more customised ranking system. In that, they rank posts based on their rigorous claims towards a better health. These include the previously mentioned claims of “losing 5KGs in a week”. Trust me, it is highly unlikely and not sustainable. So what Facebook’s algorithm would do is filter these out to give the most accurate and best possible results. Secondly, they would be targeting these ads in the shape of “helpful” posts. Basically, what these sellers do is form a very motivating, hopeful post using stats which no one can truly confirm. After all of that, when the reader is done going over the post, they would say that users can attain such and such results only when they use that certain product. While I, nor Facebook, do not disprove these products, many users have made reviews claiming that these seldom work and are more often than not, just a scam.

Facebook has been working on this previously as well, working with keywords to stop spam and inaccurate reports being pushed on our news feeds. It is pretty ironic though, this step. While we have discussed previously how these ads stem from the information stored in our cache, Facebook has been under quite the heat for exploiting user information. Now, their claims of “protecting” their users from these spammers seems a little funny. Basically, our saviour seems to have a bit of taint in its cape but we can’t really do anything. We have delved so deep into their ecosystem that all we can do is adapt and be a part of the status quo. For future reference though, it is recommended to use the browser on incognito mode. This helps in cache reserves remaining clear and helps to avoid inaccurate and unwanted posts and ads.

Sarmad Burki
Sarmad Burki is a Mathematician and a Economist with a passion for all things gaming and tech. His academics and professional experience combined with tech and gaming adds to his skills giving him a unique ability to observe the tech and gaming industry from various prespectives.

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Facebook Takes Steps to Reduce Unwanted & Inaccurate Health Ads on the Newsfeed

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