by Khadija Boufous-Misbar
Note: The views and opinions expressed in blog/editorial posts are those of the author.
With the rise of new advertising techniques on social media, advertising, which is a paid form of communication that draws attention to ideas, goods, or services, uses different ways to convince the receiver of the utility of their services.
Most advertising campaigns are directed toward groups rather than individuals. Advertisers prefer using social media platforms that offer communities and social media groups and help measure the numbers of impressions and interactions.
Social media groups and communities can help spread fake news since they serve as “echo chambers,” where users interact and like posts to reinforce their opinions or convince themselves to adopt others’ points of view. Advertisers promoting misleading content use social media to reach more visitors as sharing the claim on one of the social media platforms can help users to easily see the headline and click on it to be redirected to the website.
As advertising aims to draw social media users’ attention, some advertisers may spread fake news and misleading narratives. Integral Ad Science reports found that misinformation is an important brand safety issue for advertisers. However, not many of them have the proper guidelines to counter it.
Integral Ad Science showed that almost 73% of 502 surveyed U.S. media experts agree or strongly agree that ad buyers and sellers must avoid misinformation and fake news. Meanwhile, 47% noted that their organizations have clear guidelines to counter ads related to fake news or placed near misleading content.
According to Oracle Advertising, more than 50% of Gen Z audiences are less likely to buy products or services from ads placed near unreliable sources. However, the Global Disinformation Index reported that “$25 million in ad revenue went to disinformation sites between 2019 and 2021.”
Media investment company GroupM, which tackles misinformation on a domain level, confirmed about 40,000 domains which are “known distributors of misinformation and conspiracy theories that its clients don’t run on.” According to Adweek, the total U.S. digital ad spend is projected to hit nearly $240 billion by the end of 2022, and the stakes become too high for advertisers to find the spending going to false news content.
Researchers found a 75% reduction in the amount of fake news circulating on Facebook after the platform rolled out a new advertising system to combat fake news and misleading content that contains deceptive or false narratives.
Social media platforms can help counteract advertising promoting fake news using a more aggressive push for positive and accurate ads. “The same advertising that elevates the influence of false articles could be harnessed differently, by redirecting rather than stemming its power,” a 2018 study noted.
To summarize, both advertisers and social media platforms offering advertising services can help beat fake news by banning misleading narratives in their marketing strategies. This is important since more consumers are shopping on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. According to a recent report from Accenture consulting group, social commerce is “estimated to grow three times faster than traditional e-commerce in the next four years.” The report also noted that “social commerce is estimated to become a $1.2 trillion global market by 2025, accounting for 16.7% of total e-commerce spending.”