When the tech giant said that it was hiring an additional of 1,000 people to review ads manually, it was not certainly clear to everyone what that necessitated – just what the focus was, and if it would have an effect on upstanding advertisers? While Facebook touched on what was happening before, there is currently no ambiguity. According to Axios, Facebook is informing advertisers that it already requires manual review for ads that are targeting people based on “politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues.” Thus, the company is determined to shun attempts to utilise ads to provoke social tensions, even if that entails slowing down its ad system. The social network ha warned marketers that they are “likely to experience a delay” to the beginning of their ad campaigns, at least until the company discovers a way to streamline the process.
Facebook, when asked for comments, referred to its earlier news post, which made reference to “certain types” of ads that are going through human reviews. It did not touch on the expected delays or the specific content.
It is not surprising that Facebook would restrict manual reviews to more sensitive subjects. However, the requirement for reviews that are covering a broad range of subjects is notable. It is a more direct acknowledgement that the previous reliance of the company on automated screening allowed shady ads to slip through the cracks, and that manual inspection might be required to expose people that are attempting to game the system. Simply speaking, this could express a survival tactic. Facebook recognises that it is under government investigation for Russia-linked ads, and it may have determined that slowing down its ad system voluntarily was better than risking government intervention.