Facebook has become very important in my life, and the lives of millions of other people. To some extent, it’s where the great debates of our time are debated. Which makes it like the people’s government of the information society of the future, still in it’s infant stage. Which makes it a real problem, because it is a private corporation and not answerable to the people at all.
There is an ad which recurs on my page, despite the fact that I hit ‘hide ad’ every time it appears, and then ‘report ad’ and then I get a range of boxes to click and then I hit ‘done’ and a box pops up to say ‘you won’t see that ad again’ and then I see the ad again.
I’ve reported it twice already this morning, and I’ve been online less than a half hour.
The ad, some might say, is not that bad. It doesn’t seem to be abusive to women or children or animals, and it doesn’t promote violence. It’s political. It shows a Swedish Flag and says something like “Glorious Historical Day as Sweden Ditches Euro.” So, you might be confused and think this is just a news story from a partisan, anti-Euro source but, no, it’s a paid ad.
(My views on the Euro are mixed. On the one hand, I wish the Czech Republic had it. I love the IDEA of a united Europe, and I love the ease of travel, and the Euro would make it even easier. On the other, I understand that prices go up anywhere it’s introduced. But prices go up anyway. That’s just the direction prices always go, so I don’t think it would be cataclysmic. Also, if the UK had been on the Euro, Brexit would have been a lot more difficult.)
But this blog is not about my views on the Euro. It’s about Facebook’s ad reporting policy. I started blocking the ad whenever I saw it a week or two ago. At first I just hit ‘hide ad’ and then ‘done.’ Then I started going to ‘report ad’ and clicking on the box that says ‘spam.’ But it still appears, so now I’m clicking on the box that says ‘False News’ because Sweden is not ‘ditching’ the Euro. Sweden, like the Czech Republic, was never on the Euro.
Still, it appears. There is no reason at all to believe anybody looks at, or acts on, these reports. What they need is a box where it says “Why do you object to this ad?” and then a space to write in an explanation.
That then needs to be read by an actual human being (Mark Zuckerberg’s got the money. He could hire a few actual human beings for this purpose), and responded to.
It would not be a difficult system to implement, at all.