Facebook launches new political ad disclosure policy

By Daniel Uria  |  May 24, 2018 at 6:59 PM
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May 24 (UPI) -- Facebook launched new disclosures regarding political advertisements on the social media platform Thursday.

Ads on both Facebook and Instagram will feature a disclosure tag that states who paid for the ad, the company announced in a blog post. Users also will be able to click on the label to view an archive of information, including every ad the advertiser has run within seven years, the campaign budget associated with the ad and information about who has viewed it.

In addition, advertisers seeking to run ads with political content in the United States will be required to verify their identity and location by mail.

"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. And it is why they are so important," Rob Leathern, Facebook's director of project management, wrote.

Facebook also encouraged users to flag ads they believe features political content but don't feature the disclosure labels. The company promised to review the ad and take it down, in addition to temporarily banning the advertiser if it falls under the political advertising policy.

"This is the tool that makes it easier for you to find problems, which we want. We invite you to report any ad so we get better, faster," Leathern wrote.

Facebook's global politics and government outreach director, Katie Harbath, said issue ads, which focus on topics such as gun control or immigration instead of specific candidates, were a focus of the company's efforts.

"After all, many of the Russian ads around the election focused on stirring passions on divisive issues," she said.

Facebook first announced the new disclosure policy last month after Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Mark Warner, D-Va., unveiled the Honest Ads Act, which would require that political ads sold online be subject to the same rules as ads sold on television, radio and satellite in October.

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