Early on, Facebook made one of the best ads of the pandemic.
An emotive piano score plays over images of empty streets, classrooms, buses, and store shelves. People in masks, people in hospital beds, people in tears. All set to poet Kate Tempest reading her beautiful—and remarkably prescient—2019 work, “People’s Faces.”
But the bleak images quickly gave way to those of people in touch online—laughing, smiling, talking, posting what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, all on Facebook. The tagline: “We’re never lost if we can find each other,” and then a link to the company’s COVID-19 support page appears for those who need help or can offer it. Created by ad agency Droga5, along with Facebook’s own marketing team, it hit all the right notes.
The only problem here is that the Facebook in this ad also happens to exist in the same universe as another Facebook. The one that has been a health misinformation superspreader during the same pandemic where it sought to present itself as a lifeline for connection. The one that explicitly allowed politicians to lie on its platform leading up to a Presidential election. The same Facebook, which has more users than the Catholic Church, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he didn’t want to be an arbiter of truth.