Privacy-oriented messaging app Signal tried to run a very candid ad campaign on Facebook-owned Instagram, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Signal explained how it went down in a blog post Tuesday. The idea was to post ads on Instagram which use the data an online advertiser may have collected about users, and basically show the user what that data might be for them.
“You got this ad because you’re a teacher, but more importantly you’re a Leo (and single). This ad used your location to see you’re in Moscow. You like to support sketch comedy, and this ad thinks you do drag,” one of the ads said. According to Signal, the ad “would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses.”
The fact that Facebook and similar companies collect your data isn’t a secret. According to Signal, however “the full picture is hazy to most — dimly concealed within complex, opaquely-rendered systems and fine print designed to be scrolled past.” In other words, you may have consented to this because you weren’t bothered to investigate the details, but you may feel differently if you knew exactly what online advertisers know about you.
However, Facebook wasn’t having it, and shut down both the campaign and Signal’s ad account.
Signal shared no details of the communication between itself and Facebook. Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike confirmed on Twitter that Signal’s ad account on Instagram was shut down.
It’s unclear which rule or guideline, exactly, Signal has breached in order to get banned. We’ve contacted Facebook to learn more about this and will update this post when we hear back.