Facebook to implement new transparency rules for political ads – CNET


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

James Martin/CNET

Facebook wants to make political advertisements easier to discern.

Facebook’s VP of ads, Rob Goldman, said in a post that the social media giant will implement new rules for advertisers in an effort to promote transparency.

Political ads, for instance — like those anticipated to run during the US’ midterm elections in November 2018 — will need to be verified and identified as political. A “paid for by” disclosure will be included and users can tap on an ad to view more information. To combat advertisers that do not disclose themselves, Facebook will use machine learning to help identify and verify them as political advertisers.

“That level of transparency is good for democracy and it’s good for the electoral process,” wrote Goldman. “Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.”

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Facebook will also allow users to view all ads circulating from a Page, even if that user is not part of the targeted audience for each ad. This rule will roll out next month and affect all Pages (not just political ones). Initial tests begin in Canada and users will initially be able to view current ads that are running from a Page. However, as this feature expands into the US during the election, Facebook will build an archive so users can view all election-related ads that have ran in the past.

Facebook will also provide information on how much money political advertisers spent for each ad, the number of impressions the ad garnered and demographic information about the audience the ad reached.

The company’s new rules come soon after it was revealed that Facebook ran Russian-backed ads aimed to influence the 2016 US presidential election to 10 million users. On Tuesday, social media site Twitter announced it will also publicly share the identity of political advertisers.

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