Facebook Begins Going After Developers For Aggressive Ads

A number of applications have been systematically shut down over the past few days due to running aggressive advertisements. Facebook is sending out the following statement to developers, explaining why the apps have been shut down: “Ads are misleading and don’t represent what’s being advertised. Landing pages emulate Facebook features to deceive users and use deceptive billing practice. (Platform Guidelines section #4, 5, 9)”. This is a sign that Facebook is turning up the heat on aggressive ads on all fronts.

I’ve written extensively about the practice of running aggressive ads but now developers feel as though they are the victims since they are running advertisements from well known Facebook platform ad networks. If developers can’t run ads from well know ad networks, who can they use? While we could make suggestions about who to use, that’s outside the scope of this article. The main point is that Facebook has not only taken actions against ad networks but they’re now going after developers, who are equally responsible since they are using these ad networks and regularly check the ads that are running.

One developer posted a thread in the Facebook developer forum this evening and a number of other developers reported similar issues. While RockYou, Social Media, and Social Cash were listed as ad networks being run within applications, we can’t confirm whether or not these were actions a result of running these specific ad networks.

It means that while you may be able to get millions of users to your applications, you should be extremely careful about the advertising units that are running within the application. While we are not sure about how large of a crack down this is, we’ve reached out to Facebook who has so far remained silent about the rationale behind shutting down applications.

All we currently have is information provided by developers but this appears to be a growing issue. We’ve also been hearing other rumblings about controversy surrounding the ads being run from some these ad networks. Some of the networks have been walking fine lines in terms of the ads being run and Facebook has stated publicly on a number of instances that they will do whatever is in the user’s best interest.

Our only rationale behind this new tactic is that rather than playing back and forth games with ad networks, Facebook is now going after developers. While I cannot say whether or not these ad networks are running ads that are in violation of Facebook’s terms, it’s a logical step to begin going after developers. While this aggressive policy is resulting in lower CPMs for many developers, Facebook is focused on creating a positive user experience.

We will be sure to update this post as we receive information from other developers and if we hear anything back from Facebook.

We’ve received some of the emails from developers which included screenshots of offending advertisements and landing pages, both pictured below.

Offending Display Ad

Offending Landing Page