Facebook’s Shady Cancer Treatment Ads Cost People Thousands Of Dollars

Facebook's Shady Cancer Treatment Ads Are Costing People Thousands Of Dollars
Image: Abhishek Mishra/FossBytes

Website and in-app advertisements are often misleading and deceptive. Despite having such traits, they run rampant on most platforms with millions of active users. Facebook ads are one of the top platforms that offer advertisement options to drive sales and boost revenue for businesses.

While the advertisement tier of Facebook is good for small and medium-sized businesses, it is also a bubbling pot for misleading ads that literally “steal” money from the users. MIT Technical Review unearthed some of the shocking ads which were running on Facebook despite their stern guidelines.

These ads mainly promise to treat, otherwise difficult to cure medical problems within days or weeks using a “proven cure method”.

Why do misleading Facebook ads still exist?

Facebook (now Meta) has a stern policy for misleading ads but it doesn’t seem to identify most of them. Here’s an excerpt from the same.

Ads must not contain deceptive, false, or misleading claims like those relating to the effectiveness of characteristics of a product or service, including misleading health, employment, or weight-loss claims that set unrealistic expectations for users

Meta’s misinformation policy

The excerpt states that the ads must not contain any content that makes misleading claims. But it seems that the platform fails to verify the contents of these ad campaigns before deploying them on the platform. If MIT Technical Review hadn’t researched the Facebook ads problem, most of us wouldn’t know about it.

It is common to encounter numerous fat loss and wellness treatment ads on Facebook. But, if you don’t report them, Facebook never knows that these ads have a problem. While Apple has anti-tracking measures that stop cross-app tracking, Android users and the rest of the web are still vulnerable to tracking.

Facebook ads
Image: MIT

Companies who run these ads use the data to find out people who face such a problem. Then begins a campaign to deceive users by promising unaccomplishable goals. Cancer is a grave medical problem and cannot be treated by anyone claiming to be a doctor. But Facebook has multiple such ads claiming to cure it in weeks.

These treatments offer no relief and dupe patients of large sums of money. If you find a Facebook ad claiming to cure cancer or other medical treatment in weeks, it is advisable to report that ad. In addition, Meta must vet each ad, especially in the medical field, before deploying them.

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