Facebook is now enforcing its new policies for political and issue-related ads. Announced last month, the new rules require all advertisers running political or issue ads on the platform to verify their identity and location. US election and issue ads will have to be clearly labeled and will include “Paid for” information to identify the person or organization behind the ad.
“This will help ensure that you can see who is paying for the ad — which is especially important when the Page name doesn’t match the name of the company or person funding the ad,” writes Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern.
In addition to verifying the advertisers and labeling the ads, Facebook has also created a searchable archive that will log political and issue ad content from advertisers going back seven years. Information about individual ads — such as the campaign budget for the ad, how many users saw it along with their age, location and gender — will be included in the archive which can be found at Facebook.com/politicalcontentads or accessed by clicking on the “Political Ad” label now identifying the ads.
Facebook say it is also working with its Election Commission, the group it assembled to determine the impact of social media on elections, and other stakeholders to launch an API for the archive, as well as working with news organizations to help differentiate between news and non-news content within the archive.
“These changes will not prevent abuse entirely. We’re up against smart, creative and well-funded adversaries who change their tactics as we spot abuse. But we believe that they will help prevent future interference in elections on Facebook,” writes Leathern.
The company encourages users to report ads that appear political but are not correctly labeled by clicking on the three dots in the top right corner of the ad. Any advertisers that are found to be violating the new rules will be banned from running ads on the platform until they have been verified.
The launch for Facebook’s new political ad policies comes a day after the company has begun showing users an alert within their News Feed, encouraging them to review the information shared via their profile, and gives details around Facebook’s advertising policies and face recognition technology. The alerts are attached to the EU’s GDPR initiative that launched this week.
Today on “CBS This Morning,” Facebook VP of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said the company’s latest efforts around user privacy and security represented the biggest cultural shift she has witnessed since being part of Facebook.
The new political ad policies are the result of Facebook failing to identify the full scope of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. The fact that it overlaps with the GDPR launch — a move by the EU to protect user data and enforce data security across the digital landscape — aligns two separate but overlapping issues that have put Facebook in crisis-control mode since March, when it suspended Cambridge Analytica — the company accused of exploiting Facebook’s user data for political ad campaign leverage.