Facebook reveals how it will keep election ads honest

Published on .

Facebook is starting to roll out promised changes to election advertising on its platform that it hopes prevent the type of widespread manipulation that plagued it during the 2016 presidential election.

On Thursday, Facebook revealed more details about the ad transparency policies that it has been working on for months. The social network will now label every campaign and political issue ad, and disclose who pays for them, both on Facebook proper and on Instagram.

The company says it will also keep an archive of every political ad that runs on the social network, open open to academic researchers through an API—application programming interface—to let developers build software to play with the data. Facebook released a video showing what the new ad experience will look like for users, who will see the sources of the ads and will be able to click on them to see other details such as how many people saw them, what locations they targeted and the age of the target audience.

Other tech companies are also embracing new policies when it comes to campaign ads, trying to apply some of the same disclosure standards to digital ads that already rule TV and print.

On Thursday, Twitter also revealed new election-ad policies that require political advertisers to prove their identity so foreign nationals can't advertise in U.S. campaigns. Twitter has also promised to build a "transparency center" to reveal what political ads have run on the service and who paid for them.

Earlier this month, Google also announced stricter requirements for political advertisers and transparency procedures.

Meanwhile, the Digital Advertising Alliance announced an initiative this week to encourage labeling of political ads around the internet and identify who paid for ads.

The industry's solutions could help avoid new federal laws affecting digital advertising. Several senators have sponsored a bill called the Honest Ads Act that aims to regulate election ads online.

Most Popular