Facebook tightens rules on political advertising prior to 2020 U.S. presidential elections

Facebook has disclosed new political advertising rules prior to next year’s U.S.A. presidential election amid fears the platform is going to be exploited.

Political advertisers will currently have to verify their identity before being given a “confirmed organization” label.

It marks the newest in a series of tries to handle incidents where users placed deceptive or inaccurate ads to influence voters.
The rules will also apply to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Paid-for Facebook ads have become a preferred tool for political campaigns and other organizations to focus on voters.

The platform antecedently unconcealed that the 2016 Trump campaign had spent in the region of $70m (£57.3m) on ads over the election period.

Facebook has been rolling out transparency tools on a country-by-country basis ever since reports claimed that Russia-based agents had uploaded content to influence voters throughout the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook has needed political advertisers in the U.S.A. to place a “paid for” disclaimer on their ads since 2018; however the changes haven’t fully stamped out improper use.

The company recently banned the Falun Gong-linked Epoch News outlet once a report from NBC News claimed it had used incorrectly labelled pages to push pro-Trump adverts.

Previously journalists at Vice News managed to place ads on the site purporting to be on behalf of us vice president Mike Pence.

Sarah Schiff, product manager at Facebook, said the new rules were in direct response to such loopholes being exploited.

“In 2018 we did see proof of misuse in these disclaimers and so this can be our effort to strengthen the process,” she told the Newcastle Herald.

Aaron Reike, managing director at digital justice organization improvement, told the BBC he was “surprised” it had taken the platform so long to implement such rules.

Facebook’s former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, has advised it might be tough for the corporate to implement the new rules across all its platforms.

“Instagram has a number of the same issues Twitter has in that you can have a pseudo-anonymous identity,” he told The Verge. “So, ‘Is Instagram ready?’ is really a big question.”