Facebook exempts news publishers from its archive on political ads

Media companies had complained about the policy

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Credit: Bloomberg

Facebook says it will stop including some publishers' advertising in its political ad archive following months of criticism from news organizations.

Next year the social media giant will no longer require publishers who want to buy ads boosting exposure to their articles on politics to go through its political-ad transparency process, the company said in a blog post Thursday.

Under Facebook's current rules, any ads promoting political content—even news articles on politics and elections—are placed in a public archive for up to seven years. The archive includes information on who is paying for a political ad and the demographics of the ad's viewers. The measures were initiated to prevent foreign interference in elections.

Earlier this year Facebook said it would divide its political ads archive into two sections—one for ads promoting news stories about politics and one for ads promoting political candidates and issues.

But trade groups argued that mainstream news organizations should be exempt from the requirements because they blur the lines between news coverage and political advocacy.

In June, seven trade groups representing media publishers and broadcast organizations in more than 120 countries, including The New York Times, BBC.com and 21st Century Fox, sent a letter to Facebook criticizing the company's decision.

—Bloomberg News

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