Businesses May Use Fake Twitter Testimonials for Facebook Ads Despite Policies That Ban “Misleading Claims”


Businesses may use false testimonials attributed to non-existent Twitter accounts to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, despite Facebook’s advertising policies prohibiting “misleading, false or misleading claims.”

The independent found evidence of numerous companies – including a popular dating app and an app that offers templates for social media posts – using what appeared to be bogus social media ads.

One company has tens of thousands of likes on their Facebook account, and both companies have over tens of thousands of Instagram followers.

A now deleted ad managed by the dating app

(The independent)

Both companies have posted ads containing positive statements or humorous comments from users on Twitter to promote their services – which do not appear to have actually been posted. Facebook said The independent that because they did not falsify information on specific characteristics, they did not violate its terms.

After being contacted by The independent, the ads for both companies were quickly and quietly removed from Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database that documents company promotions on Facebook’s platforms. Facebook confirmed The independent that the now-removed ads were shown on its platforms.

None of the companies provided a comment or explanation to The independent when asked by email and phone calls. Twitter could not verify if any of the accounts had previously tweeted any of the statements used in the companies’ ads.

It appears that some of the Twitter accounts used were managed by the advertising company itself; others seemed to simply take the name and image of accounts with little Twitter activity.

A now-deleted ad that ran on Instagram by the model company

(The independent)

“Many of you have asked me what app I use to create stories. I used [the company] and loooooore! “an endorsement, posted by an account that is now subject to a Twitter suspension, claimed.”[The company] is the best app among all story makers and it has gathered a lot of people. I doubled my subscriber base, ”said another.

(Facebook / The Independent)

In addition to the UK, the model company ran similar ads in other countries, including Russia and Spain, using the same fake accounts, with the tweets translated into other languages. Various versions of the ad, using a number of accounts with a variety of display photos featuring smiling young women, have been released by the company. Both companies had been running these ads for months.

One ad, which uses the same copy as one of the tweets and claims to be from an April 25, 2021 review, awards the model app five stars and tells others to “check it out.” The developer responds: “So happy to hear that”. The app had no Apple App Store reviews dated April, The independent find.

Facebook advertising terms and conditions prohibit misinformation. “Ads should not contain misleading, false or deceptive claims, such as those relating to the effectiveness or characteristics of a product or service,” states Facebook policy. This includes “exaggerated claims, tips or tricks” and “false or misleading claims about product attributes, quality or functionality”.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly asserted that Facebook ads do not contain misinformation. The company has been regularly criticized for its approach to fake stories and other misleading messages.

Facebook saidThe independent that the ads have not violated its policies because they do not mislead the benefits of any product, service, or feature.

When The independent asked how testimonials from seemingly bogus Twitter accounts could be interpreted as anything other than a misleading claim about a product’s benefits, and that companies could theoretically bypass Facebook policies in this way, Facebook declined to comment .


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