Both Facebook (Facebook Blue and Instagram) and Twitter have an enormous Bot problem. Fake user accounts are included in active user counts and therefore contribute to Ad rates. Facebook said it took down 1.3 billion fake accounts October-December which is not to say it removed every last fake account or even a majority of them. Facebook has previously estimated that 5% of its active users are fake accounts but who is to say? No means exists by which to audit Facebook’s platform. Anecdotally, the Bot problem seemed to get worse in the few years that CEORater used Facebook before we exited the platform in 2020. Twitter to my knowledge has never self-reported the approximate number of fake accounts that exist on its platform. However, Twitter’s Bot problem seemed to grow in severity in our eight years on the platform before we exited in 2020. Further, Twitter has evolved from a platform primarily geared toward commercial activity where the Tech industry was the primary driver to a political platform marked by toxic political discourse. Commercial activity has been marginalized. The combination of Twitter’s toxic political discourse and fake account problem has placed Jack Dorsey’s company on a path to become a niche platform. What are Social Media Ad buyers truly getting in return for their Ad spend?
It would seem a better digital Ad buy would be “in-game” ad buys (i.e. product placement – it is more difficult to fudge the number of active gamers), and targeted ad purchases across premium content platforms – Amazon Prime, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg – where the buyer knows there is a paying, subscribing human on the receiving end.