Facebook is once again attempting to stymie its own negative impacts on democracy. Following efforts to clamp down on the fake news epidemic, the social network is now requiring more transparency from political ads in the United Kingdom.
The company says ads for major political figures must now be labelled with information on who is paying for the content. In a blog post, the company says the removal of the cloak of anonymity should discourage ‘bad actors’ from misusing its platform.
Facebook says it sees the change as an “important part of ensuring electoral integrality” and says it will give users a better idea of “who they are engaging with” when they read ads on the platform.
The company says all ads that “reference political figures, political parties, elections, legislation before Parliament and past referenda that are the subject of national debate,” must carry the new “Paid for by” disclaimer. Facebook says that by “having people verify who they are, we believe it will help prevent abuse.”
Users will have the opportunity to report ads that are not labelled appropriately and they will be removed if they are found to be in breach of the rules. Unfortunately, the transparency does not extend to precisely how Facebook users are being targeted by ads, beyond basic gender, age and location.
The company added in the blog post (via Engadget): “We believe that this higher level of transparency is good for democracy and is good for the electoral process. Transparency helps everyone, including political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.”
Because that’s what we all associate with Facebook isn’t it. Transparency.
Do you think Facebook is doing enough to combat misuse of its platform? Do you trust targeted content you see on the social network? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.