Facebook Announces Tagging Political Ads
SAN FRANCISCO — May 28, 2018
Facebook is taking steps to further transparency efforts around political advertisements, in part due to the presence of Russian-funded ads around the time of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The platform, including its subsidiary Instagram, has announced a plan to label all political advertisements in the United States with a bold tag including the name of the person or organization funding the ads.
It will expand its advertising disclosure requirements to cover all United States announcements on controversial issues, such as abortion and gun control, even if it is not related to any particular candidate.
The ads that come from specific candidates have been included in a disclosure label since October. Facebook has said it will also require that label on advertisements that support specific issues of external matches, but did not give more details.
Announcements of controversial issues on Facebook played an important role in Russia's efforts to interfere with the US elections in 2016. Twitter and Google have also been working to prevent electoral interference, which includes tagging political ads as such and requesting that all advertisers make their sponsors known.
Facebook indicated that when users click on the label of an ad of that type, they will be referred to a page with more information, which includes who paid for the advertising and how many people saw it.
The campaign will start with a list of 20 key top-level issues: abortion, budget, civil rights, crime, economy, education, energy, environment, foreign policy, government reform, guns, health, immigration, infrastructure, military, poverty, social security, taxes, terrorism, and values, and that it will also target ads "that have the goal of influencing public debate, promoting an electoral measure or choosing a candidate."
It will also require anyone who wants to buy ads for specific topics in the United States to confirm their identity and location. The company said it is investing in more workers and technology to identify possible abuses.
Facebook urged users to report ads that have political content and are not labeled. Offenders will be banned from launching political ads, they added.