Facebook Adds “Hide All From [Advertiser]” Feedback Option to Punish Spammers

Facebook has confirmed that it is testing a new feedback option for the ads shown on its site, that allows users to block specific advertisers from reaching them. The “Hide all from [advertiser]” option is appearing to some users when they ‘x’ out an unwanted ad, in addition to the existing option to select why they they clicked to remove the ad.

When apps and Pages have their posts hidden from the news feed, Facebook’s quality ranking system decreases the prominence of that entity’s posts to all users. If Facebook applies the same quality ranking algorithm to ads, being hidden through the new feedback option could decrease the prominence of an all of an advertisers’ ads. This could encourage them to use more responsible, less spammy ad creative to avoid being hidden.

Alternatively, if Facebook doesn’t apply the quality ranking system, being hidden might actually improve an advertiser’s click through rates because those who otherwise wouldn’t click can exempt themselves from impressions. Either way, if rolled out the ad feedback option could improve the Facebook experience for those sensitive to the content of the ads they see.

Facebook has long allowed users to provide feedback on ads, providing users with choices such as “uninteresting”, “misleading”, “sexually explicit”, or “repetitive” when they ‘x’ out an unwanted ad. This data helps Facebook refine its ad targeting algorithm, identifying if certain types of ads are relevant to a user, or are being shown too frequently.

We also assume that advertisers receiving negative marks about the content of their ad creatives are subject to reprimand or throttling of the placement of their ads. This would keep advertisers from using aggressive or spammy tactics to boost CTR at the expense of the user experience.

Now when some users ‘x’ out add, they see the option to either “Hide this ad” or “Hide all from [advertiser]”, in the case of our example “Hide all from Buy South Africa Online”. If a user chooses the latter, they’ll see the message “Ads hidden. We’ll try not to show you ads from [advertiser]”. The term ‘try’ is likely used because advertisers could reach users that have hidden them by creating new ad accounts under different names.

Users then have the options to select why they hid the ad, or unhide the advertiser. Facebook recently disabled a number of apps that were receiving high volumes of negative feedback on their news feed and wall posts. This led to an outcry about a lack of transparency around enforcement, so Facebook launched feedback analytics and benchmarks for apps, so developers could determine when they were being too spammy.

Facebook explained that apps receiving negative feedback would see negative impacts on their EdgeRank, or the prominence of their posts in the news feed. It’s believed that a similar system punishes spammy Pages.

That same quality ranking system could apply to advertisers as well, and the “Hide all from [advertiser]” option would give users a way to explicitly fight back against those showing them objectionable ads. Advertisers receiving high volumes of negative feedback could possibly have their ads shown in lower positions in the ad stacks that appear in Facebook’s right sidebar.

By increasing the repercussions for aggressive or spammy advertisers, Facebook may be able to provide a more appealing browsing experience, and attract high quality brands to market on its platform