I t is clear that Political ads on Facebook Occupy a large part of the Facebook company’s attention and concentration, especially in the recent period, as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Accordingly, Facebook pledged to provide the maximum transparency in such a quality ad to prevent using the Facebook platform in the manipulation of voters around the world, especially in the US, UK, France, Germany, Alabama, Mexico, and Brazil.
A few days ago, Facebook announced on its official blog the launch of some new updates that enable it to achieve great progress in the UK, specifically in providing transparency for ads related to Politics in the UK. Additionally, Facebook mentioned that recently, they have been testing a set of tools and features that can tell users the information they need to assess ads that relate to politics, who paid for an advert. housing all these ads for up to seven years in an Ad Library. Accordingly, from now, all advertisers who need to create ads in the UK that reference political figures, political parties, elections, legislation before Parliament and past referenda, will have to verify their identity and location and carry a “Paid for by” disclaimer.
Alongside this new update, Facebook also rolled out a new ability, that will inform users with detailed information such as ad’s budget and number of people reached, and the other ads that Page is running, just by clicking on the “Paid for by” label, which will take users to the UK’s own Ad Library. UK’s own Ad Library will be searchable, as confirmed by Facebook; “as of today, can now be accessed by anyone in the world regardless of whether they have a Facebook account or not at facebook.com/ads/archive. We believe that increased transparency will lead to increased accountability and responsibility over time – not just for Facebook but for advertisers as well.”
In addition to previous updates for Ads Related to Politics in the UK, Facebook also invite users to report ads which they believe have political content and isn’t labeled on the Facebook platform and, it confirmed that its team will review the ad, and if it violates Facebook political advertising policy, it will be taken down and added to the Ad Library.
On the other hand, it should be kept in mind that Launching New Transparency Features for Ads Related to Politics in the UK isn’t Facebook’s only effort regarding the matter; in June, Facebook rolled out new features, that achieve transparency to ads and pages on the Facebook platform, such as View Active Ads and More Page Information labels, that’s giving people more information about any organization and the ads it’s currently running. Then, in August, Facebook officially announced the availability of the Ad Archive API, which enables the US researchers and journalists to more easily analyze Facebook ads related to politics or issues of national importance.
The Facebook Ad Archive API offers a great set of features, such as ad creator, start and end date, and performance data, including total spend and impressions for ads.
It also shows the demographics of people reached, including age, gender, and location. After that, in September, Facebook also rolled out “Facebook Pilot Program”, an addition to the Facebook existing security tools and procedures, which allow users to associate with US political campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterm elections will have many protection methods and abilities.
In addition, Candidates for federal or statewide office, as well as staff members and representatives from federal and state political party committees, can add additional security protection to their Pages and accounts.
In the end, in the same announcement, Facebook confirmed that “The advertiser will then be prevented from running ads related to politics until they complete our authorization process and we’ll follow up to let you know what happened to the ad you reported.”