You are probably aware of recent revelations of data misuse at Facebook, like the quiz app that leaked Facebook data of 120 million users or the data-sharing deals Facebook told US Congress about in a 747-page document released last Friday. This is the context for the company’s national brand campaign, launched last week.
For months, Facebook has been matching the difficult news flow with its own communications, publishing blog posts on the changes it is making to improve transparency around advertising and give users more control over their data. The social network has also taken down 837 million pieces of spam and 2.5 million pieces of hate speech, and disabled 583 million fake accounts globally in the first quarter of 2018.
Just last week, Facebook said it plans to roll out an “Info & Ads” section on Facebook Pages which will show the ads a page is currently running — regardless of whether the ads are targeted to you.
Communicating those ongoing changes is one of the goals of Facebook’s Here Together campaign. The other aim of the campaign is to tug on the heartstrings to remind users why they use Facebook in the first place.
The eight-week campaign spans out-of-home, digital, TV and cinema, as well as posts inside the Facebook app, and specifically informs users about Facebook’s efforts to eliminate fake accounts, data misuse, and fake news.
The launch of the campaign coincided with the release of research from Roy Morgan that found half of all Australians (47 per cent) distrust social media, with Facebook by far the most distrusted media brand.
“Trust is really important,” Alexandra Sloane, head of marketing at Facebook ANZ, told Which-50.
Facebook’s approach has been to increase transparency and start a “dialogue with our consumers about the fact we are listening and we’re hearing what is important to them and we are taking it seriously and we have a responsibility to do better.”
The Here Together campaign aims “to really drive that awareness of the fact that we are accepting a broader responsibility and that we are taking action around these issues that are really important to our users.”
Cynics might suggest it’s also about keeping the regulators from the door. Because that’s the real financial risk to Facebook: margin erosion from more a invasive regulatory regime. The reality is that its users seem to shake off each passing scandal — or share their concerns about Facebook’s appalling behaviour … on Facebook. Thoughts and prayers, anyone?
“Specifically it’s about educating them and driving awareness of the actions that we are taking around key topics like fake news, data misuse and fake accounts.”
Sloane says the cross-channel campaign (rather than just sticking to Facebook’s own advertising) is necessary to achieve “the optimum results”.
“Every channel has its own role in this particular campaign,” Sloane said.
For example, the out-of-home creative allows Facebook to provide more-detailed information in locations with longer dwell times, like street furniture, and includes a URL to a landing page with more info.
“We’ve tried to provide as much detail as we can without being overwhelming. We realised a landing page would be necessary for people who wanted to find out more or dig into the detail.”
Meanwhile the 60-second cinema ad reminds audiences that Facebook wants to put connecting with friends and family at the centre of the platform. “Cinema is a great environment for us to tell that story in a more emotional way,” Sloane said.
Facebook is using third-party research methods to measure the shift in awareness around the fact Facebook is changing and the particular actions around the three key areas, Sloane said.