Facebook's Steps to Combat Cloaking

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How the social network plans to address deceitful ads or content

Facebook announced today that it's taking news steps to combat cloaking.

According to a blog post written by the social network's product management director Rob Leathern and software engineer Bobbie Chang, cloaking is when the actual destination of an ad, post, or content is misrepresented to dodge Facebook's review process and show people content that goes against the social network's community standards and advertising policies.  

As the blog explains, a “bad actor” might create a web page that shows compliant content to a Facebook reviewer but shows non-compliant content to a regular Facebook app user who taps the same link. Cloaked destination pages often include content for diet pills, pornography, and muscle enhancement scams, the blog post states, and are created to drive financial benefit through this kind of deceit.

Facebook will remove and ban any advertisers or Pages that participate in cloaking from its platform.

“We see cloaking as deliberate and deceptive,” the authors state in the blog post, “and will not tolerate it on Facebook.”

To better identify and combat cloaking, Facebook is leveraging artificial intelligence and bulking up its human review processes. “We can now better observe differences in the type of content served to people using our apps compared to our own internal systems,” the authors write.

In addition, the social network is joining forces with other industry partners to address this issue, the blog post notes, and it has enhanced its policies and enforcement across ads, posts, and Pages.

These practices have helped Facebook remove “thousands of offenders” within the last few months, according to the blog post. Still, there's more work to be done. As the authors write, “We are always working to combat the spread of misinformation and the financially-motivated bad actors who create misleading experiences for people.”

Infographic Source: Facebook

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