Facebook Boosts Political Ad Disclosures

Extends authorized advertiser regime to issue ads
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WASHINGTON — Facebook said it will extend its electoral ad authorization requirements on Facebook and Instagram to ads about policy issues, and take other steps to identify from where and from whom political ads are coming.

That came in advance of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress, but was clearly an effort to give the Facebook chairman and CEO a forward spin on what turned out to be a hearing based on past transgressions or mistakes.

“Last October, we announced that only authorized advertisers will be able to run electoral ads on Facebook or Instagram,” Facebook executives said in a blog post. “[T]oday, we’re extending that requirement to anyone that wants to show “issue ads” — like political topics that are being debated across the country. We are working with third parties to develop a list of key issues, which we will refine over time. To get authorized by Facebook, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Advertisers will be prohibited from running political ads — electoral or issue-based — until they are authorized.”

They acknowledged the company was slow in picking up on foreign interference in the 2016 elections, something Zuckerberg acknowledged frequently last week, saying the changes were meant to prevent future abuses as the important midterm elections approach.

Facebook said those issue ads will be clearly labeled “Political Ad” and will display “paid for by” information, starting later this spring.

In June, the company will also release a searchable archive of political ads.

WASHINGTON — Facebook said it will extend its electoral ad authorization requirements on Facebook and Instagram to ads about policy issues, and take other steps to identify from where and from whom political ads are coming.

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