Facebook has promised to make transparency a priority when it comes to political advertising on its platform.
The social network has said it will now require more in-depth documentation from advertisers seeking to purchase election-related ads. The move comes after it became public knowledge that Facebook unknowingly sold to Russia at least $100,000 worth of ads that led to fake news pages during the U.S. presidential election.
“We are starting with federal elections in the US, and will progress from there to additional contests and elections in other countries and jurisdictions,” Facebook vice-president of ads Rob Goldman said in a blog post. “As part of the documentation process, advertisers may be required to identify that they are running election-related advertising and verify both their entity and location.”
Advertisers will also be forced to include the disclosure ‘Paid for by’ in all election-related ads. When readers click on the disclosure, they will be able to see details about the advertiser. Readers, as per Facebook’s usual policy, will also be able to see an explanation of why particular ads are being shown to them.
“For political advertisers that do not proactively disclose themselves, we are building machine learning tools that will help us find them and require them to verify their identity,” Goldman added. “We remain deeply committed to helping protect the integrity of the electoral process on Facebook.”
That is not the end of the changes, however. Facebook is also using Canada as a guinea pig to test a number of new ad-related options.
Canadian Facebook users — and soon Messenger and Instagram users —will be able to click ‘View Ads’ to see which ads are running on a specific Facebook page.
“All Pages will be part of this effort, and we will require that all ads be associated with a Page as part of the ad creation process,” Goldman said. “We will start this test in Canada and roll it out to the U.S. by this summer, ahead of the US midterm elections in November, as well as broadly to all other countries around the same time.”