Facebook To Reveal Funding Behind Political Ads

In deep damage-control mode, Facebook says it will begin forcing Pages to disclose the source of funding behind political ads.

“When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they're required by law to disclose who paid for them,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a live stream on Thursday.

Holding Facebook to an even higher standard, Zuckerberg said the network will also let users see all current ads being run by political advertisers.

The change comes amid revelations that Russian disinformation specialists used Facebook to influence voters during the most recent presidential election.

In response, the company says it is sharing details of those campaigns with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation.

During his streamed message, on Thursday, Zuckerberg also said Facebook provided detailed information about the implicated ads to Congressional investigators, as part of their probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“We support Congress in deciding how to best use this information to inform the public, and we expect the government to publish its findings when their investigation is complete,” Zuckerberg said.

Going forward, the young CEO is also promising to strengthen Facebook’s ad review process for political ads. “We can do more,” he said. Over the next year, Facebook also plans to increase its investment in security and “election integrity” by adding more than 250 people across related teams.

Adding to Facebook’s image problem, it was recently revealed that it temporarily allowed advertisers to target users based on keyword combinations such as “Jew hater” and “How to burn jews.”

It wasn’t until ProPublica brought the anti-Semitic categories to Facebook’s attention last week that the company removed them from its ad-targeting menu.

In response, Facebook said its ad-buying system is not perfect.

“There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards,” Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook, stated.

While accepting some blame for carelessly catering to anti-Semites, Facebook took issue with ProPublica attributing the hateful ad categories to an “algorithm.”

The categories in question were self-reported, based on how users filled out their profiles, according to the company.

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