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Facebook to reportedly tap on China ad market out of SG

Facebook is reportedly creating an engineering team in Singapore to focus concentrate on its ad business in China. Quoting its sources, Reuters reported that the team at Facebook’s Asia Pacific headquarters based in Singapore is responsible for “developing better ad-buying tools” for consumers in China who have to bypass internet restrictions known as the “Great Firewall” in China.

According to Reuters, China-related engineering work was previously done in Silicon Valley and this move is Facebook’s “first significant attempt” at developing regionally localised ad tools outside of Silicon Valley. Citing analysts, Reuters said Facebook sells over US$5 billion worth of ad space each year to Chinese businesses and government agencies seeking to promote their messages overseas. Facebook reportedly saw US$24.1 billion in advertising sales from China in 2018.

In a statement to Marketing, Facebook’s spokesperson said: “Facebook has product teams in several locations outside the US, including Singapore. We do this to ensure that people and businesses have the best experience possible on our apps – no matter their connection speed or location. The team in Singapore builds ads and business integrity products that serve Asia as well as our global advertisers.”

Separately, Facebook is implementing new measures to fight foreign interference, increase transparency, and reduce misinformation to help protect the democratic process of the upcoming US Presidential Elections. Besides making Pages more transparent, Facebook said it is updating the Ad Library, Ad Library Report, and Ad Library API to help journalists, lawmakers, researchers and others learn more about the ads they see.

Meanwhile, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also previously defended its right to include political ads, after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey subtly called out Facebook for “working hard” to avoid spreading of misleading information, but ultimately continuing to allow political ads.

In an earnings call, Zuckerberg addressed debate about acceptance of political speech in social media platforms, saying that: “Some people accuse us of allowing this speech because they think all we care about is making money. That’s wrong. I can assure you, from a business perspective, the controversy this creates far outweighs the very small percent of our business that these political ads make up.”

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