As Facebook Pushes Political Ad Transparency, Will Linear TV Seek More?

Facebook will now require buyers of political ads to make all ads available for public review, much like traditional linear TV -- which is required by federal regulations.

But should things be even more transparent -- even for TV?

There are some protections for consumers when it comes to political TV advertising. During the political message, candidates need to reveal who is taking credit for specific TV advertising -- and for any super PAC advertising.

That said, many organizations have vague political and aspirational names on their TV messaging. TV broadcasters are supposed to have full public files on these accounts. But specific information can be lacking.

And while many of these TV ads are specifically regulated, they don’t reveal much — the name of the organization, who is responsible for buying the spot and principals of that organization. But not much else -- especially when it comes to the actual money behind a super PAC.  



Can a foreign-backed political message infiltrate TV advertising airwaves? It sounds possible.

TV networks have long had a standards-and-practices staff for TV commercials. But much is done through human analysis of those spots — something digital media has long avoided in its algorithmic-focused and increasingly self-service advertising business.  

Until now.

Mark Zuckerberg, chairman/CEO of Facebook, says social-media political advertising on the site will dramatically change. That decision came in response to the realization that thousands of Russian-backed social-media ads, via fake accounts, were disseminated on the social network. 

Facebook’s efforts mean that users will be able to click on an ad targeted to them and see what other kinds of messages the political advertiser is using to target them -- as well as key information, like disclosing the funding behind the political ads.

In the future of addressable TV advertising, this would be an area traditional, linear TV viewers would also want -- and not just with political advertising, but all types of advertising.

With the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the "Citizens United" case, the regulatory doors opened wide for a big influx of political advertising on TV stations -- and the growth of super PAC advertising.

Going forward -- with the collateral damage around Facebook and fake Russian social-media advertising and fake accounts still rising -- will these changes have a spillover effect on TV?

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