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Facebook to make political ads more transparent on platform

Facebook said Friday it would take steps to deliver on a promise to reveal backers of political advertisements to boost transparency in the wake of criticism of the social network’ s role in the 2016 US election .

The leading social platform said it will begin testing and refining political ad transparency tools next month in Canada, with a goal of having them in place in the US before elections next year.

Under the plan unveiled by Facebook vice president Rob Goldman, people will be able to click “ view ads” on a page to determine the source .

“ 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, ” Goldman said in a blog post .

“ People should be able to tell who the advertiser is and see the ads they ’ re running, especially for political ads , That level of transparency is good for democracy and it ’ s good for the electoral process . ”

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a separate post this is more transparency than required for other media.
“ We ’ re making all ads more transparent, not just political ads, ” Zuckerberg said .

Additionally , he noted that political advertisers “ will now have to provide more information to verify their identity. ”

Facebook in September announced a plan to increase “ transparency” regarding political advertising and hire more than 1 , 000 people to thwart deceptive ads crafted to knock elections off course including “ dark ” messages crafted for specific demographic groups but invisible to others.

Facebook has turned over to Congress some 3 , 000 Russia -linked ads that appeared to use hot -button issues to turn people against one another ahead of last year’ s US election .
Facebook ’ s second-ranking executive , Sheryl Sandberg , has acknowledged that “ things happened on our platform in this election that should not have happened , especially foreign interference . ”

According to Facebook , some 10 million people may have viewed the ads placed by a Russian entity that appeared aimed at sowing division and mistrust.

Some 470 accounts spent a total of approximately $100, 000 between June 2015 to May 2017 on ads that touted fake or misleading news, according to Facebook .
Goldman said Canada is a “ natural choice ” to test the new system .

“ 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.

Twitter this week unveiled similar steps that will disclose the sources of political ads . The messaging platform separately said it would ban ads from Russia-based RT and Sputnik, accused of spreading disinformation during the 2016 campaign.

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