Facebook Tightens Rules on Political Ads Ahead of EU Vote

Chastened because Russia utilized the social networking platform to affect polls which swept US President Donald Trump to electricity, Facebook says it’s ploughed staff and resources into safeguarding the ballot across 27 EU nations on May 26.

“I don’t want anybody to be in any doubt that this is a top priority for the company,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president for global policy solutions, told reporters over a video-link to Brussels.

All such advertisements will be tagged as”paid for”, offering info on who purchased it, for how much and how many people have seen it – broken down by age, place and sex.

Only advertisers situated and authorised in a specific country will have the ability to run political ads or issue advertisements there, mirroring policies everywhere in which the tools have been rolled out. Ads will also be archived for seven years at a searchable archive.

Facebook will block advertisements that fail to honor from mid-April.

Despite requests by the umbrella political circles that make up the European Parliament and from the EU executive to permit for one-stop-shop pan-European advertisements, Facebook said the risks were high and the timeline too short to achieve that.

“The advantage… we understand why they want this, however we couldn’t find any way to carve out that without opening up chances nobody would want to view,” Allan said.

Doing so when polls in every one of those 27 EU member nations are governed by local election rules,” he stated, would enable little recourse for authorities in case of a breach of lawenforcement.

The ad transparency rules – already in place in the USA, Britain, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Israel – will be rolled out globally by late June, the company said.

Issue categories differ by state.

In the same upgrade, Facebook said it was adding new features and data to its ad archive, the Advertisement Library, and expanding access to its own database so researchers can run broader analysis of their information.

Other attempts by the company to protect a ballot by which 350 million adults can vote comprise working with independent fact-checkers to fight disinformation plus a cyber-security group functioning to foil bad actors and fake accounts.

As the polls approach, EU heads of state sounded the alert at a summit last week, advocating private operators like online platforms and societal networks to”guarantee higher standards of transparency and responsibility.”

“Within the last year there has been enormous progress in consciousness of the problem,” said a senior diplomat from an EU member nation in the former Soviet bloc, whose administration was one of those pushing Brussels to pay additional attention to the threat.

“Now it’s becoming a fundamental part of EU believing… to deal with fragilities that our democratic systems may have.”

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