Faulty Facebook Text Check Tool Costly for Advertisers

November 3rd 2017

The following article is taken from a news release about what we've found with Facebook's faulty algorithm (as admitted by them). Our managing director, Michael, was interviewed for the piece....

More and more marketers are using Facebook as a vehicle to get their message across, says Tailored Social’s Michael Collas-Smith, and Facebook is making millions from them, making it one of the world’s wealthiest companies.

However, he says an automated tool that is supposed to allow advertisers to check if their image
contains too much text prior to going through the ad creation process is faulty, as admitted in
written communication by Facebook staff.

The communication does state that an internal tool used by Facebook produces a different result
to that which is supplied by the online tool that advertisers use to check their content before
creating ads. Furthermore, a manual review tool where an actual person ran the ruler over the
content is no longer available.

“Facebook limits the reach to audiences for ads it deems contains too much text, thus arbitrarily
inflating the CPM (cost per thousand) and charging advertisers more for less. Despite the warning
that Facebook provides on text when creating advertisements, it is incongruous with the tool
Facebook provides to advertisers prior to this. Wording on the ad images are supposed to be
restricted to 20% and when this is greater, reach is limited and a higher CPM applies.”

Following frustration expressed by its clients, Tailored Social has exchanged email correspondence
with Facebook on numerous occasions and provided examples of inaccuracies with the tool.
Michael Collas-Smith says, “We have demonstrated that the tool used by advertisers detects more
text on an image with less text and vice versa. We tested the same image with the same number
of words but on one image the words were larger and the automatic tool gave us different results,
approving one but not the other. In one instance the word ‘Stop’ on a street sign in the image was
counted as text.

“The representative we dealt with told us that the tool was just a guideline for advertisers and was
different to the tool used internally by Facebook to check images.
“She stated, ‘We do text check with our internal tool, not the text overlay tool since it could have
some errors as you experienced with those example images you sent’.

“This doesn’t make sense … why not provide the same tool so that advertisers know exactly where
they stand? Is their internal tool faulty as well? How would we know?”
Michael Collas-Smith says, “At the very least Facebook should have a responsibility to customers
to allow humans to check for the 20% text content, or at least to independently verify the
algorithm used is perfect.

“Otherwise all that can be inferred is that Facebook knows that the tool or algorithm isn’t perfect,
but is fine with that because it is making more money.”

He says there would be many advertisers who had faced the same issues since the manual review
feature was taken away, resulting in millions, if not billions, of revenue for Facebook.

If you're uncertain of if your ads are being affected, give us a call or request a free audit of your existing advertising services to see if we can help: https://tailoredsocial.com.au/services/free-marketing-audit

Alternatively, if you're a journalist and would like to give this story the exposure it deserves to try and bring about some positive change, feel free to email or call.