Facebook has reportedly binned a campaign by privacy-loving messaging app Signal that showed Instagram users what type of data it collects from people. And if Signal’s aim was to give us the heebie-jeebies, I’d say it was pretty bloody successful.

Signal is an encrypted messaging service that wanted to use Instagram ads to “highlight how ad tech invades your privacy.”

But Signal claimed that Facebook, which acquired Instagram in 2012, shut its account down for maybe hitting just a little too close to home.

“We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to,” Signal shared in a blog post on its website.

The ad would basically display some of the, uh, personal information collected about the user, which the advertising platform uses.

For example, one ad reads: “You got this ad because you’re a K-pop-loving chemical engineer.

“This ad used your location to see you’re in Berlin.

“And you have a new baby. And just moved. And you’re really feeling those pregnancy exercises lately.”



“Facebook was not into that idea,” Signal wrote and claimed its ad account was quickly disabled.


But in a statement obtained by tech website The Information, Facebook very sassily claimed that Signal never ran the ads.

“This is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to actually run these ads – and we didn’t shut down their ad account for trying to do so,” Facebook said.

“If Signal had tried to run the ads, a couple of them would have been rejected because our advertised policies prohibit ads that assert that you have a specific medical condition or sexual orientation, as Signal should know.”

But wait, there’s more, because Signal clapped right back.

“We absolutely did try to run these,” Signal tweeted. “The ads were rejected, and Facebook disabled our ad account. These are real screenshots, as Facebook should know.”

As Facebook should know. 

I love a bit of petty tech goodness on a Wednesday, tell ya what. As for who’s telling the truth on this one – well, you can probably figure that one out for yourselves.

Image: Signal