Facebook has taken a few hits lately, amid public concern about how the social media giant may have influenced public perception during the 2016 election cycle.
Although that concern hasn't impacted its bottom line yet, Facebook still felt compelled to release a list of its advertising principles this week in an attempt to assure social users and businesses about the thought that goes into their advertising decisions.
"Advertising is how we provide our services for free, but ads shouldn't be a tax on your experience," said Rob Goldman, vice president of Facebook Ad Products in the statement. "We want ads to be as relevant and useful to you as the other posts you see. If we do this effectively, advertising on Facebook can also help businesses large and small increase their sales and hire more people."
So there you have it: Facebook advertising is a necessary evil that allows users to browse through their newsfeeds, connect with friends and family, and comment on posts free of charge.
The principles laid out in the post contain some other highlights, too:
Facebook does not sell personal data. "Protecting people's privacy is central to how we've designed our ad system," Goldman said.
Users have control over the ads they see. "Anyone can visit their Ad Preferences to learn more about the interests and information that influence the ads they see, and manage this information so they get more relevant ads," Goldman said.
Advertising should be transparent. "You should be able to easily understand who is showing ads to you and see what other ads that advertiser is running," Goldman said. "It's why we're building an ads transparency feature that will let you visit any Facebook Page and see the ads that advertiser is running, whether or not those ads are being shown to you."
Advertising should be safe and civil. "We have Community Standards that prohibit hate speech, bullying, intimidation and other kinds of harmful behavior," said Goldman. "We hold advertisers to even stricter advertising policies to protect you from things like discriminatory ads and we have recently tightened our ad policies even further."
It should empower all kinds of businesses. "We believe that smaller businesses should have access to the same tools previously available only to larger companies with sophisticated marketing teams," he said.
That's where Facebook advertising really excels: for a relatively nominal fee, your business can attract as much attention as a larger firm with bigger and deeper pockets.
The post itself doesn't reveal too much inside information, but it's nice that Facebook would take the time and spend the words to reassure their users and attempt to be transparent in what they do. Isn't that a refreshing change?