If you pick up a copy of this morning's New York Times and turn to page A5, you'll find a full-page ad from Facebook, just opposite the start of the international news section, headlined "Protecting Our Community from Election Interference" that outlines nine "Immediate actions we're taking." The exact text of the ad doesn't seems to be posted on Facebook's various official comms channels (so I've typed it verbatim for you, below), but it does draw language from both a Monday post by Joel Kaplan, Facebook's VP of global public policy, titled "Improving Enforcement and Transparency of Ads on Facebook" and a Sept. 21 post by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his personal Facebook page.
Members of Congress and other would-be regulators of Facebook are the obvious targets for this Times ad.
As Axios' Mike Allen recently pointed out regarding occasional "Zuck for president" speculation, Facebook's chief has a much more immediate campaign to wage: "Zuckerberg's candidate is Facebook, and its political base is in serious jeopardy." Allen noted that he's seen a copy of a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated by two Democratic senators seeking co-sponsors for legislation that "would formalize, and expand, the transparency commitments Facebook has made."
Facebook, of course, would like to convince lawmakers that its self-regulation is good enough, thank you very much.
The full text of Facebook's ad appears here, followed by an image of the actual ad:
Protecting Our Community from Election Interference
We take the trust of the Facebook community seriously. We will fight any attempt to interfere with elections or civic engagement on Facebook.
Immediate actions we're taking:
1. Making advertising more transparent
We are building new tools that will allow you to see the ads a Facebook Page is running, including ads that aren't targeted to you directly.
2. Strengthening our ad policies and enforcement
We are adding more than 1,000 people to our global ad review teams, requiring more thorough documentation from advertisers who want to run US federal election-related ads, and expanding our policies around violence in ads.
3. Investing in security
We will more than double the team working to prevent election interference on Facebook and develop new technologies dedicated to security and safety.
4. Sharing the ads we've found with Congress
We shared more than 3,000 ads that appear to have come from a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency.
5. Continuing our internal investigation
We are working to further our understanding of how foreign groups may have misused Facebook in order to prevent further abuse.
6. Fighting threats across the internet
We recognize this is a global, industry-wide problem so we are sharing threat information with other companies. Any actor trying to misuse Facebook is likely trying to abuse other internet platforms and we need to work together.
7. Expanding our partnerships with election commissions
We are working with election commissions around the word to proactively communicate online risks we've identified.
8. Supporting elections globally
We have been actively working to help protect the integrity of elections on Facebook around the world.
9. Building civic engagement tools
We will build even more tools to empower our community to engage in political discourse, and to protect them when they do.