Signal uses Facebook’s ads against it, gets banned instead (Updated)

Signal Private Messenger stock photo 6
Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Messaging app Signal has revealed a series of Instagram ads that were banned by Facebook.
  • The ads uniquely highlighted just how much data Facebook collected on its users.

Private messaging app Signal has enjoyed a boost in adoption owing to WhatsApp’s new terms and conditions, but it looks like the company is going on the offensive when it comes to Facebook’s platforms.

Signal crafted an ad on Instagram in a bid to highlight just how much personal data Facebook’s platforms collect on its users. “The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses,” Signal explained in a blog post (h/t: Gizmodo). In other words, the ad was personalized for each person seeing it.

The ads all use the same format, noting your occupation, relationship status, location, hobbies, and other personal information. The results would’ve been rather startling for at least some users, according to examples posted by the company. Check them out below.

Signal ads banned

Credit: Signal

“Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used,” the messaging team asserted. The blog post also uploaded a screenshot seemingly confirming that Signal’s account was disabled. You can view it below.

Signal Instagram disabled

Credit: Signal

News of Signal’s apparent ad ban also comes as Apple and Facebook were engaged in a battle over data tracking. Apple’s iOS 14.5 update allows users to decide whether they want to be tracked by specific apps, with Facebook subsequently notifying users that tracking helps keep its services “free of charge.” In fact, a recent Android Authority poll found that most respondents are in favor of Google offering a similar feature.

We’ve contacted Facebook for comment regarding Signal’s banned ads and will update the story if/when we receive a response. In the meantime, the company reportedly told The Information that Signal didn’t attempt to run these ads and denied banning the firm’s account. Signal countered these claims on Twitter, saying it “absolutely did try” to run the ads and posted another screenshot showing that its account was indeed blocked.

Signal screenshots twitter

Are you surprised by how much data Facebook collects across its various platforms? Let us know via the poll below.

Signal uses Facebook’s ads against it, gets banned instead (Updated)