Facebook to launch transparency tools for electoral ads in India

By Anuj Sharma - January 29, 2019
Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will be penalised with reduced distribution and they will not be able to monetise or advertise on Facebook.

Over the past two years, Facebook has made massive investments to help protect the integrity of elections by not only addressing threats seen on the platform in the past but also anticipating new challenges and responding to new risks, such as blocking and removing fake accounts, finding and removing bad actors, limiting the spread of false news and misinformation and bringing unprecedented transparency to political advertising.

To further support this work, Facebook earlier began temporarily disallowing electoral ads purchased from outside the country ahead of the election. These transparency tools for electoral ads will also launch in India in February and expand globally before the end of June.

Advertisers will need to be authorised to purchase political ads. Facebook will give people more information about ads related to politics and issues and will create a publicly searchable library of these ads for up to seven years. The library will include information on the range of the ads budget, number of people they reached and demographics of who saw the ad, including age, gender and location.

‘This will allow our global teams to better work across regions in the run-up to elections and will further strengthen our coordination and response time between staff in Menlo Park and in-country. These teams will add a layer of defence against fake news, hate speech and voter suppression and will work cross-functionally with our threat intelligence, data science, engineering, research, community operations, legal and other teams,’ Facebook said in a blog post.

Facebook’s fight against fake news is continuously improving. Across News Feed, the company will follow a three-part framework to improve the quality and authenticity of stories.

‘First, we remove content that violates our Community Standards, which help enforce the safety and security of the platform. Then, for content that does not directly violate our Community Standards but still undermines the authenticity of the platform – like clickbait or sensational material – we reduce its distribution in News Feed, so fewer people see it. Finally, we inform people by giving them more context on the information they see in News Feed. For example, when someone comes across a story, they can tap on “About this article” to see more details on the article and the publisher,’ added Facebook.

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