Facebook to Require Political Ads to Be Verified and 'Clearly Labeled'

Monica Sanchez | April 6, 2018
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Facebook announced on Friday that it will start requiring advertisers who seek to run political ads to be “verified." 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company will also start verifying all users who manage pages with large followings, regardless if they run ads, reports The Hill.

“This will make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way,” Zuckerberg explained.

He added that Facebook will be hiring more people to ensure verifications are completed before the 2018 midterm elections.

Facebook vice president of ads Rob Goldman and vice president of local and pages Alex Himel announced in a statement on Friday that the company is expanding its definition of “political ad” to include “issue ads” – or ads that involve important political issues.

Facebook will be compiling a list of these issues, “which we will refine over time,” they wrote.

“Last October, we announced that only authorized advertisers will be able to run electoral ads on Facebook or Instagram. And today, we’re extending that requirement to anyone that wants to show ‘issue ads’ — like political topics that are being debated across the country,” the statement reads. "We are working with third parties to develop a list of key issues, which we will refine over time.”

In order to be verified and get authorized to run ads, “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,” wrote Goldman and Himel.

In addition, these ads will be clearly labeled in the top left corner as ‘Political Ad.’ Next to it we will show ‘paid for by’ information. We started testing the authorization process this week, and people will begin seeing the label and additional information in the US later this spring.

The announcement comes after it was revealed that thousands of fake accounts were used during the 2016 U.S. presidential election to spread divisive or misleading content.   

It remains to be seen whether the third-party verification requirement for advertisers and large pages will lead to more problems for the social media platform.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before Congress next week regarding privacy concerns over how Facebook collects and shares its users’ data.

“Zuckerberg has said in recent weeks that he would testify, following allegations that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users to try to influence elections,” Fox News reports. “He will testify before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on April 10 and before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, leaders of the committees said.”

(Cover Photo: Flickr / Brian Solis)

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