Facebook’s small advertisers say they are plagued by AI lockouts


Small advertisers who rely on Facebook to spread marketing messages have armed themselves with the social network’s automated advertising systems, complaining that the lack of simple account blocking tools and customer assistance is hurting the business.

Chris Raines, a digital marketer, is setting up an advertising campaign Facebook When his account suddenly stopped working last week. Raines uses his account to manage ads for clients’ Facebook pages. Without it, he would not be able to do his job.

The lockout was a nuisance, but then Raines noticed a few things related to it: The $ 3,000 (approximately Rs. 2.2 lakhs)-daily ad campaign he set up before his account was locked for an account was still running even though he could no longer manage it. Raines is spending his client money with no way of controlling how.

Raines tried to verify his identity using Facebook’s automated systems, but received an error message. Eventually, he called the advertiser and asked if they would make his wife the administrator of the company-owned Facebook page. Using her account, he was finally able to log in and manage Facebook ads, including adjusting details such as who sees the ad and how much it should cost.

Raines, who runs a digital media company called Bullhorn Media, said: “There is a lot of real hurt for real advertisers and marketers. “If I didn’t have that alternative, my business would be gone.”

As he researched the solutions, Raines began to hear about other ad buyers in the same position. Harrison Kugler, an independent digital media manager in New Jersey, was locked out while running ads for his client, a local comedy club. It took him 26 hours to recover his account, during which he estimated he had spent $ 200 (approximately Rs. 14,700) on Facebook ads without his usual level of supervision. In New Zealand, marketing consultant Sam Frost has been frozen from his account and there are no other administrators linked to certain Facebook pages running ads. He spent “two hundred dollars” before he was allowed back.

“It’s not a royal ransom, but some businesses may have large sums of money,” Frost said. “I have not seen other businesses that can get out of it.”

As Facebook relies heavily on automated tools to get rid of bad actors and inappropriate content, many users who follow the rules are complaining about being trapped on the Facebook net. Last month, some small business owners were found not guilty Vacation Ads Facebook is stuck in filters, damaging their business at the most important time of the year. Users have created a number of change.org petitions asking Facebook for better customer service, one of which began this fall and now has more than 800 signatures.

Unlike buying a TV commercial or billboard, Facebook ads require more attention. Many campaigns may have multiple ads with different images or language, depending on who they are targeting. That uniqueness is the main purpose of advertising with Facebook. The company’s enormous user data allows advertisers to generate messages for a very specific audience. If one ad is performing poorly, the plug-in campaign manager may withdraw money from that ad and send it to another that gets a better response.

It is impossible to do that if you do not have access to your Facebook account. “Are you comfortable with your credit card and those who are able to spend without any understanding of what is going on on that credit card?” Frost asked.

Most Facebook pages have multiple administrators, which means that if one is suspended or loses access, others can control ad campaigns. But most businesses also pay for experts or professionals to do more work, which means that ads from the account are not necessarily monitored unless that expert is logged in. Advertising accounts that have only one administrator will be disabled if Facebook suspends that person, but in most cases, advertisers will not be completely suspended – they will be flagged off by Facebook’s automated systems for spam and temporarily locked out. If an account is locked out but not officially disabled, ads associated with that account will continue.

To re-enter, users will be asked to verify their identities, but Rains, Frost and Kugler all have trouble with Facebook’s automated systems. In many cases, they sent pictures of their IDs without a response, or requested to send verification codes via text message, but the codes never arrived.

“While we provide tools for small businesses to connect with potential customers and help them grow their business, we also have systems in place to prevent abuse and protect people from fraud,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “However, our implementation is not correct. We apologize for any inconvenience.” Facebook said that 99.9 percent of the service was detected using spam automated systems.

These events are becoming a troublesome theme for Facebook. The social network has never been important for small businesses that have been pushed towards online interactions during the epidemic. While Facebook has been crucial to small companies ’sales, many have been unable to stay away from company advertising products protesting its policies during the big-brand boycott this summer. Similarly, Facebook’s relationships with these advertisers have been at the center of its public messaging, with the company taking full – page advertisements in the major U.S. newspapers attacked last week. Of Apple Winner of data-gathering policies and small businesses’ online endeavors.

But as that reliance grew, Facebook began to show its struggle to support these businesses. The company’s automated customer-service tools are unable to support a number of businesses with problems. When Kugler first submitted his information in an attempt to recover his account, including a photo of his ID, Facebook sent him an automatic response. COVID-19 Epidemic, which is “may not be able to review your account.”

“I didn’t realize how much I relied on Facebook’s platform,” Kugler said. “This kind of lack of accountability from the company that empowers employees and all these things is absolutely proprietary.”

According to Facebook advertisers, the big part of the issue is that the company does not have strong customer service systems for small advertisers. It is said that there are 10 million advertisers on Facebook, but most of them do not have a regular human contact person on the social network to solve problems. The company offers an automated chat feature for advertisers, but to use it you need an active Facebook account, which is not available to users who are accidentally locked out.

Lindsay Antonio, who runs a hotel in New Jersey, spends a very small amount of money on Facebook advertising each month – about $ 30 (approximately Rs. 2,200). When her account was accidentally locked last week, there was no help for her to retrieve it. “I do not think there is an avenue, and I’m so small a collaborator because I’m not sure I can be heard even though it’s there,” she said. “In a year when my ownership group was having trouble buying uniforms and firing people, they were still allowing me to advertise on Facebook and it’s kind of paying us back.”

Raines and Frost eventually regained access to their accounts, but the issue was resolved through Facebook’s proper channels. Instead, they are lucky that a Facebook employee at LinkedIn is willing to exacerbate their problem internally – on a Facebook scale, not a measurable solution. Although Raines’ account was restored, he only got back some of the required ad features. He had to continue using his wife’s account for another four days to manage ads for his clients.

“I’m in the back of the water buffalo,” Rains joked. “It’s a horrible opportunity to sit back, hope and wait and have your livelihood revolve around it.”
© 2020 Bloomberg LP


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