Facebook will disclose more on political ads, similar to TV

by Abel Hampton October 28, 2017, 0:07

Users will be able to click a new "View Ads" button on an organization's Page to view all campaigns it's now running on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger, regardless of whether or not the user is being targeted by those ads. Both of these initiatives follow revelations of widespread Russian meddling on social media platforms during last year's US presidential election, but extending visibility into consumer-facing marketing campaigns is a significant development coming from companies that have, to date, been notoriously cagey about sharing this type of information with both their users and even marketers.

Facebook's announcement comes a day after Twitter said it will ban ads from RT and Sputnik, two state-sponsored Russian news outlets. In reaction, the social network has pledged to hand-review any new ads that target politics and race.

At least 10 million people saw Russian-placed political ads on the platform, which may have helped widen the rift between political sides during the 2016 USA presidential election. "The lack of transparency and accountability in online political advertising is a threat to our democracy", Klobuchar said in a statement Friday. As part of the documentation process, advertisers may be required to identify that they are running election-related advertising and verify both their entity and location.

Facebook already had announced in September that the platform would require an advertiser to disclose who paid for the ads and what other ads it was running at the same time.

When it comes to advertising on Facebook, people should be able to tell who the advertiser is and see the ads they're running, especially for political ads.

All Facebook ads, political or otherwise, will need to be purchased by a source with a Page and a "View Ads" section will be added to those Pages where users can see what's been purchased.

Facebook says it's also developing machine learning tools to find pages who post election ads but don't go through the verification process. Furthermore, it will also include details on the total amounts spent and the number of impressions delivered for each federal-election related ad. Every such ad will also be included in a searchable archive covering a rolling four-year period starting from when it launches the archive.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out the rough outlines of the plan in a blog post last month.

The new measures won't come into force until summer, in time for the USA midterm elections in November, and will eventually launch in Canada closer to the 2019 vote, a spokeswoman said. Earlier this month, our VP of Public Policy Joel Kaplan provided additional details on what we're doing to make advertising more transparent, increase requirements for authenticity and strengthen our enforcement against ads that violate our policies.

"Testing in one market allows us to learn the various ways an entire population uses the feature at a scale that allows us to learn and iterate", Goldman said.

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