Facebook wants you to believe that ads are good in the name of small businesses


At the peak of its feud with Apple over privacy policy changes that allowed users to opt out of ad-tracking, Facebook launched a campaign called Small businesses deserve to be heard, proposing the idea that the move hurts these businesses. And now that Apple is moving forward with the proposed changes despite criticism from Facebook (complete with full-page newspaper ads), the social media behemoth is launching another campaign, trying to convince users that these personalized ads are good for them as well as small businesses.

You call this audacity. Facebook calls it business, or fighting for small businesses.

Going by the name of Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found, Facebook’s latest campaign wants to highlight the benefits of personalized ads, because that’s how you discover new products. And that is also how small businesses reach new customers, since they don’t have the budget to advertise on platforms such as TVs or magazines. Do keep in mind that Facebook takes a cut from these small businesses too, but apparently (in the company’s own words), the share is smaller.

“We’re introducing Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found, an initiative that highlights how personalized ads are an important way people discover small businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and how these ads help small businesses grow from an idea into a livelihood.”
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Facebook is quoting some of the names that have achieved success, telling users that despite lacking advertising budgets of a big firm, these small businesses could reach customers and made money using its platform. The company is also citing the COVID-19 pandemic as an effect that has seriously hurt these businesses, and that they need support to get back up. And the secret sauce to all that is personalized ads.

Facebook has cited the example of House of Takura (a company that sells made-in-Africa handcrafted bags), Henry’s House of Coffee, Charleston Gourmet Burger Company (run by a husband-wife team), and the Goat House Farm yoga studio as some of the successful business stories, and those that now need the support of users. So, how exactly can you be a part of its ‘noble’ initiative and support small businesses? Here it is in the company’s own words:

“Visit your Ad Preferences and switch on your data sharing settings to ensure you keep seeing ads from relevant small businesses.”

And what is Facebook doing to support these businesses that will get hurt by the new privacy policies? Well, the company has waived its fee for paid online events through August 2021 as well as the charge for Checkout on Shops until June 30 this year. The company says it is investing $1 billion in direct support, launching a free digital skill training initiative for 1 million Latinx and Black-owned businesses each, and offering new tools to help restaurants better advertise their services.

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Facebook will show prompts to users, asking them to enable ad tracking

Regarding the privacy aspect of personalized ads, Facebook says that identifying details such as names, posts, and contact information is not shared with small businesses. Facebook has already started testing in-app prompts that will urge users to enable activity tracking to serve them personalized ads. However, users will have the choice to accept or reject ad-tracking, which is what Apple has vouched for in its feud against Facebook.

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I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.





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