For the millennial generation, people who are spontaneous and are susceptible to impulsive buying, having access to online shopping apps on your phone can be a game-changer. Additionally, with targeted sponsored advertisements on social media platforms becoming commonplace, users are constantly being introduced to new products or services that align closely with their interests.

On Facebook alone, 5.4 Billion ads are served to users per day, which brings us to the more important question: Who actually verifies these sellers and the products they offer?
If sources were to be holding true, there have been umpteen complaints against fraud sellers predominantly from China and other Asian regions who misuse the might of social media and bait innocent buyers with dummy product pictures, only to deliver the substandard replica, leading to disappointment and negative customer buying experience. The brunt of the entire process is shared by the websites and apps where these products were listed for sale – including Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram.

Time and again, the platforms in question have introduced corrective measures to protect their users who frequently make a purchase by following an ad they saw on their newsfeed. However, regardless of the comprehensive selling policies, businesses with shady practices pave their way through making promises that are ‘too good to be true’ in order to lure in as many naive customers as possible.

In order to mitigate the risk of being duped while shopping online, Facebook has continued to revise their advertisement policies for the businesses looking to be recognized as official sellers on the platform. They have also straightened a few checkpoints and introduced warning signals to prevent buyers from making a quick purchase, only to regret it later.

  • Product quality: Facebook scans the image shared by the seller to ensure that it’s clear in visibility, mentions exact dimensions of the product, and includes a size chart. After all, brands that share blurred images with minimal to zero details are less likely to be trusted, as an average customer would like to know everything they can about the product before purchasing. 
  • Shipping: Facebook prefers listing businesses that provide customers with a realistic shipping time and a comprehensive tracking facility when they place an order. For example, some businesses only specify the ‘dispatch time’ of a product, which is not the same as shipping time. 
  • Customer service: A good customer service is the backbone of any business.  Facebook proactively condemns ads run by businesses who fail to list relevant contact information for customers that might need help making a purchase, tracking their order and sharing product feedback. Facebook welcomes the feedback of the buyers to understand and advice better to the seller about the shortcomings of their business. It’s in the light of such sample customer experience, that a brand is able to assess its market position and can ascertain what it needs to do in order to get better, stay relevant, or shine extraordinary.

Inching ahead of these signs, Facebook UK also plans to launch a dedicated “scam ad report” button and set up a team of locally-trusted experts force who’d keep a close watch on ads that raise suspicion. Apart from possessing a deeper understanding of ad trends, these people will be responsible for suggesting measures to safeguard the platform and its users from fraudulent advertisements and businesses behind them.

As Facebook continues to crack down on faulty selling practices, we can only hope that users will have less frustrating ad experiences going forward, as they’re able to avoid businesses that don’t have their customers’ best interests at heart.