In a fresh attempt to prevent foreign interference in elections globally, Facebook and Twitter have announced new guidelines for political advertisements on their platforms, beginning with the US. Facebook has begun labelling all political and issue ads, including a "Paid for by" disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the advertisement.
Advertisers wanting to run ads with political content in the US will also need to verify their identity and location, the social media giant said in a blog post late Thursday. Twitter on the other hand is asking advertisers who wish to target the US with political campaigning ads to file for certification and adhere to fresh rules.
The changes, currently introduced in the US, are aimed at preventing a situation like the 2016 US presidential election when Russian advertisers created fake posts and bought ads to interfere in the election process.
According to Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook, "when you click on the label, you'll be taken to an archive with more information. For example, the campaign budget associated with an individual ad and how many people saw it -- including their age, location and gender".
If people see an ad which they believe has political content and is not labelled, they can report back to Facebook. To do so, just tap the three dots at the top right-hand corner of the ad, select "report", and then "it refers to a political candidate or issue".
"Facebook will review the ad, and if it falls under our Political Advertising policy, we'll take it down and add it to the archive," Leathern wrote.
The advertiser will then be banned from running ads with political content until they complete Facebook's authorisation process.
Twitter said that in addition to its Ads policies, "all political advertisers must comply with applicable laws regarding disclosure and content requirements, eligibility restrictions, and blackout dates for the countries where they advertise".
The policy applies to ads purchased by a political committee or candidate registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) or ads advocating for or against a clearly identified candidate for Federal office in the US.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from targeting political campaigning advertisements to the US, Twitter said. The Twitter handle associated with the certified ads account must provide profile photo, header photo and the website must be consistent with the Twitter handle's online presence.
"Bio must include a website that provides valid contact info. If the handle name is not related to the certified entity, the bio must include the following disclaimer: ‘Owned by (certified entity name)'," said Twitter.
(With IANS Inputs)