Encrypted messaging app Signal was kicked off Instagram’s ad platform after running a series of advertisements showcasing how the social network harvests personal details from users to target them with ads using their own info.
In a blog post published on Tuesday, Signal, which brands itself as privacy-positive, called out the user privacy policies of both Instagram and its parent company Facebook, both of which use the same adtech tools and platform.
As a result, both have access to all the data users create when looking through their Instagram and Facebook feeds. In addition to personal information such as age and location, the data collected can be as granular as type of employment, relationship status, real estate opportunities – even skincare routine and music interests.
“It’s already possible to catch fragments of these truths in the ads you’re shown; they are glimmers that reflect the world of a surveilling stranger who knows you,” according to Jun Harada, head of growth and communication at Signal, to whom the blog post is attributed.
Using such refined data points, Signal – which competes with Facebook-owned WhatsApp – created a “multi-variant targeted ad” campaign to show how social media giants such as Facebook use their platforms to “sell visibility into people and their lives.”