…Facebook has been selling them ad targeting that is unreliable to the point of being fraudulent.

The documents feature internal Facebook communications in which managers appear to admit to major flaws in ad targeting capabilities, including that ads reached the intended audience less than half of the time they were shown and that data behind a targeting criterion  was “all crap.” Facebook says the material is presented out of context.

Source: Facebook Managers Trash Their Own Ad Targeting in Unsealed Remarks

I have long noted Facebook’s “targeted ads” were a mess, even illegal (being used to exclude job seekers over certain ages, being used to exclude racial groups, used to exclude women from job ads and so on). Now we learn that FB was apparently aware it was peddling snake oil cures.

For example, even though I have a BS in computer science, an MS in software engineering, an MBA, have worked in Silicon Valley and for Microsoft, and have written a dozen books on software topics, I never saw an ad on FB for technical jobs (yet I did see adds for non-technical jobs). Advertisers were excluding targets based on age, and anyone over 30 or 35 was excluded for tech job ads. FB still permits discrimination based on age.FB tries to create a “dossier” on each of us, to discern our interests and habits. In response to the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, FB eventually allowed its users to download (at least part of) the dossier on each of us.

From that I found oddities such as FB deciding I was a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian and an Independent, simultaneously (I do not belong to any political party). This influenced not only what ads I saw, but also the selection of posts from actual friends. They also had me living in a different state and had my age grouping off by up to 20 years. When the dossier is obviously wrong, it implies ad targeting does not work.

Due to a Court case, submitted evidence suggests that Facebook’s management knew their ad targeting was a bit of scam and did not work as they claimed.

By EdwardM