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X seems to be slipping unlabeled ads into people’s feeds

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Unmarked Ads

X, previously known as Twitter, appears to be slipping unmarked advertisements into users’ feeds, raising concerns about potential violations with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) once again. In recent days, there have been numerous reports of ads infiltrating users’ timelines without clear labeling, as first reported by TechCrunch.

According to both TechCrunch’s investigation and industry groups’ findings, users have come across multiple advertisements that lack the customary “Ad” label, which distinguishes them as paid promotions rather than organic posts. However, when users click into the “…” menu in the tweet, it becomes evident that the post is, indeed, a paid advertisement.

These unlabeled ads have understandably frustrated users, who might mistakenly believe that the platform is displaying content from accounts they don’t follow in their regular timeline. This issue not only annoys users but also raises potential regulatory concerns with the FTC. Watchdog group Check My Ads, co-founded by Nandini Jammi, has been actively sharing examples on Twitter and encouraging X users to report any instances they encounter.

It remains uncertain whether these unmarked ads are the result of a technical glitch or an intentional change implemented by the company. X, which no longer maintains a functional communications department, has not responded to requests for comment.

However, it is widely known that X’s advertising business has experienced a significant decline over the past year, coinciding with Elon Musk taking over the company. Musk has publicly stated that ad revenue has plummeted by 60 percent, attributing this drop to activist actions. Additionally, the company recently lost two high-ranking executives responsible for brand safety, a concern that advertisers have cited as a major reason for scaling back their involvement with the platform. This combination of factors adds an intriguing layer to the ongoing saga of X’s advertising challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Unmarked Ads

What are unmarked ads on X (formerly Twitter)?

Unmarked ads on X refer to advertisements that appear in users’ timelines without being clearly labeled as paid promotions. These ads do not carry the typical “Ad” label, which distinguishes them from regular, organic posts.

How can users identify unmarked ads on X?

Users can identify unmarked ads on X by clicking on the “…” menu in a tweet. This menu will indicate that the post is a paid promotion, even if it lacks the “Ad” label.

Why are unmarked ads causing concerns?

Unmarked ads can confuse users who might believe they are seeing content from accounts they follow when, in fact, it’s paid advertising. This can lead to user frustration and potentially impact the credibility of the platform.

Could these unmarked ads lead to regulatory issues with the FTC?

Yes, there is a risk of regulatory trouble with the FTC due to unmarked ads. Failing to clearly label advertisements may violate FTC guidelines, as it can be seen as deceptive advertising practices.

Is it known whether these unmarked ads are intentional or the result of a technical issue?

It remains unclear whether these unmarked ads are intentional or a result of a technical glitch. X has not provided a comment on this matter.

How has X’s advertising business been faring recently?

X’s advertising business has faced significant challenges, with ad revenue reportedly down 60 percent since Elon Musk took over the company. Musk attributes this decline to activist actions. Additionally, the company has lost key executives responsible for brand safety, a concern expressed by advertisers.

What is Check My Ads, and what is its role in this situation?

Check My Ads is a watchdog group actively monitoring the issue of unmarked ads on X. They are sharing examples and encouraging X users to report instances they come across, potentially playing a role in raising awareness and addressing the problem.

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