Facebook Doubling Ad Spending to Boost Reputation amid Censorship, Antitrust Concerns

The Facebook logo is seen on an advertisement by a local telecom company in Yangon on June 7, 2018. - Facebook has blacklisted a group of Myanmar Buddhist hardliners including monks notorious for bilious hate speech against Rohingya Muslims, the company said June 7, as it scrambles to show it …
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Facebook said it has boosted its advertising spending to increase its reputation amid privacy controversies, censorship of conservatives and alternative voices, and antitrust investigations according to a report released Friday.

Antonio Lucio, Facebook’s marketing chief, said that it could more than double the social media giant’s advertising spending and include more advertising agencies to advertise for WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook reportedly spent $382 million on ads in the last year, which is up $50 million from 2017.

Lucio said that the organization’s reputation has lost muster amid concerns of election interference and “fake news” on the platforms, as well as widespread criticism of its privacy and data management.

“There’s no question we made mistakes, and we’re in the process of addressing them one after the other, but we have to tell that story to the world on the trust side as well as on the value side,” Lucio said.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also began an investigation into the social media giant’s privacy practices more than a year ago, following reports that millions of users lost their private data to the firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook’s advertising campaign arises amid an exclusive Breitbart News report which revealed that Facebook monitors the offline activity of its users to determine if the user should be considered a “hate agent.”

The social media marketing chief said it already has worked to repair its image by airing an expensive ad apology campaign to attempt to improve its image.

Lucio, who joined Facebook in 2018, said that it will also require its agencies to hire diverse teams including more women, minorities, and people of diverse sexual orientations. Lucio also enacted similar diversity requirements at his previous employer HP Inc., where he demanded that the company’s advertising firms add more women and minorities.

Lucio applauded the diversity of his own team and said that Facebook continues to work to become less white and male, and more diverse.

The Facebook marketing chief said the proportion of women at the company has increased from 31 percent to 36 percent since 2014, while the black employees has doubled from two to four percent, and Hispanic employees rose from four to five percent.

“We need the client to be diverse, the agencies to be diverse and production houses to be diverse to deliver a product that actually resonates with the consumer,” said Mr. Lucio.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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