Facebook Includes 'Transparency' Updates For Social, Political Ads

Facebook on Tuesday began rolling out “transparency tools” for anyone interested in placing ads about social issues, elections or politics.

“We believe that transparency leads to increased accountability and responsibility,” Sarah Schiff, product manager, notes in a new blog post. “At the same time, we’re continuing our work to combat foreign interference in elections worldwide.”

Facebook already requires that advertisers get authorized and add disclaimers to these ads in over 50 countries and territories.

Now, the tech titan is expanding what it calls “proactive enforcement” on these ads to countries where elections or regulations are approaching, starting with Ukraine, Singapore, Canada and Argentina.

Notably, Facebook is leaving it up to advertisers to comply with all applicable electoral or advertising laws and regulations in the countries where they run ads.

Yet, if Facebook is made aware of an ad that is in violation of a law, it is promising to remove it.

“With these tools, regulators are now better positioned to consider how to protect elections with sensible regulations,” according to Schiff.

As part of its authorization process for advertisers, Facebook confirms their ID and then ensures that they disclose who is responsible for the ad. The ad and the accompanying “Paid for by” disclaimer are both placed in Facebook’s Ad Library for seven years, along with added information, such as range of spend and impressions, as well as demographics of who saw it. 

Going forward, the authorization process will not change in countries where it has already launched. People who were previously authorized will not need to reauthorize, according to Schiff.

Beginning this week, Facebook plans to begin systematically detecting and reviewing ads in the Ukraine and Canada through a combination of automated and human review.

In Singapore and Argentina, the company expects to begin enforcement within the next few months.

Facebook also plans to roll out an Ad Library Report in both countries after enforcement is in place. The Ad Library Report allows users to track and download aggregate spend data.
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