Chicago commuters may have looked up from their phones to notice Facebook advertisements on their train or bus platform.
The advertisements had messages such as “Clickbait is not your friends” and “False news is not your friends,” in highlighter-colored text alongside apparent examples of clickbait that scream in all-caps “CLICK ME!!”
They also promise that “Facebook is changing so you see more from your friends, and less of the stuff that gets in the way.”
The advertisements mirror some of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s statements to Congress this week. Zuckerberg testified that the company was taking steps to go after fake news, clickbait and fake accounts.
“We frequently have marketing campaigns that run on and off Facebook. This one is currently running in Chicago,” spokeswoman Lisa Stratton said. Stratton declined to comment further on why Chicago was chosen for the campaign, or future plans for it.
CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said the ads were purchased on CTA’s digital platform screens throughout the rail system. The ads were booked from March 19 through April 29.
Some travelers who encountered the ads took to other social media platforms to comment on the campaign, with discussions about whether the company is trying to reach lapsed Facebook users, and why the splurge on the advertisements did not also include a decent graphic designer or copy editor.
Facebook has these ads all over Chicago public transit.— Robert Zubek (@rzubek) April 13, 2018
An interesting mea culpa, considering they're the ones that allowed these to happen, and profited from the clicks. pic.twitter.com/OZh2S8QUYr