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Facebook and Twitter roll out changes to fend off regulation

Friday, Oct 27, 2017

* This is progress, but it’s not enough

Under pressure in advance of hearings on Russian election interference, Facebook is moving to increase transparency for everyone who sees and buys political advertising on its site.

Executives for the social media company said Friday they will verify political ad buyers in federal elections, requiring them to reveal correct names and locations, and to create new graphics where users can click on the ads and find out more about who’s behind them.

More broadly, Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president in charge of ad products, said the company is building new transparency tools in which all advertisers — even those that aren’t political — are associated with a page, and users can click on a link to see all of the ads any advertiser is running.

Users also will be able to see all of the ads paid for by the advertisers, whether or not those ads were originally targeted toward them. […]

Facebook’s Goldman said the company also will build a new archive of federal election ads on Facebook, including the total amount spent and the number of times an ad is displayed, he said. The archive, which will be public for anyone to search, would also have data on the audience that saw the ads, including gender and location information. The archive would eventually hold up to four years of data.

That last component should apply to state and local elections, too, and go beyond candidates to third party “issue” advertisers.

* Twitter

In the coming weeks, we will launch an industry-leading transparency center that will offer everyone visibility into who is advertising on Twitter, details behind those ads, and tools to share your feedback with us.

Specifically, the Transparency Center will show:

    All ads that are currently running on Twitter, including Promoted-Only ads
    How long ads have been running
    Ad creative associated with those campaigns
    Ads targeted to you, as well as personalized information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting […]

Electioneering ads are those that refer to a clearly identified candidate (or party associated with that candidate) for any elected office.* To make it clear when you are seeing or engaging with an electioneering ad, we will now require that electioneering advertisers identify their campaigns as such. We will also change the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator.

In the Transparency Center, there will be a special section for electioneering ads that will include:

    All ads that are currently running or that have run on Twitter, including Promoted-Only ads
    Disclosure on total campaign ad spend by advertiser
    Transparency about the identity of the organization funding the campaign
    Targeting demographics, such as age, gender and geography
    Historical data about all electioneering ad spending by advertiser

We are also updating our policies for electioneering advertisers to:

    Include stricter requirements on who can serve these ads and limit targeting options
    Require electioneering advertisers to self-identify as such
    Introduce stronger penalties for advertisers who violate policies

Regarding Issue-Based Ads

We are committed to stricter policies and transparency around issue-based ads. There is currently no clear industry definition for issue-based ads but we will work with our peer companies, other industry leaders, policy makers, and ad partners to clearly define them quickly and integrate them into the new approach mentioned above.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

6 Comments
  1. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    No comments? Really? C’mon, peeps [exclamation point]


  2. - cdog - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:15 pm:

    Regardless of this attempt to be “transparent,” as a nation, we have reached the point where many of these super-monopolies should be regulated.

    Google news has not been covering many events in their newsfeed, complete omission from their passive offering of Top Stories. It’s very partisan and protective of a certain group of elites.

    Facebook thinks $100k from “Russians” caused one candidate to win the popular vote, and the other to win the electoral college. That’s nuts.

    Large amounts of content are being removed with the excuse that it does not meet “community standards,” with zero mitigation afforded the blanked owner of the content.

    Please regulate these bums, regardless of their fluffy attempts to look like they don’t need it.


  3. - Jocko - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    I did get a chuckle that Tennessee Republicans and Texas Secessionists got played for suckers.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    I think blocking on twitter…is the new “Sicilian Message”

    To the Post,

    If you take monies for ads that are paid political ads, they should have the very same disclosures that TV and radio ads and require them to disclose the name visible on the ads, as the volume is often muted for video.

    That IS a good start.


  5. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    Regulate. Just because I don’t like or trust these Giants that are too “handsy” with our information. They are not to be trusted. They have billions to buy millions of “Trust Me” ads. Exactly the people not to trust.


  6. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    The problem with private sector as opposed to public sector is that private sector looks to make money and they’ll deal with fallout from bad policies after the bad part happens. Public sector doesn’t have that luxury. Everything is heavily scrutinized and reviewed before being thrown into the market. Now not to say public gets it right but at least they have transparency and oversight. Private sector has neither, when it comes to new ideas or products.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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