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Facebook Rolls Out New Tool that Lets Journalists Examine Political Ads

It also shows demographics of people reached, including age, gender and location

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New Facebook tool lets journalists scrutinise political ads. Pixabay
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With midterm elections in the US and general elections in several other countries knocking at the door, Facebook has rolled out a new tool that makes it easier for researchers and journalists to scrutinise Facebook ads related to politics or issues of national importance.

“We’re making advertising more transparent to help prevent abuse on Facebook, especially during elections,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s Director of Product Management said in a statement on Wednesday.

Facebook said its new tool, Ad Archive API, would initially be available to a group of publishers, academics and researchers in the US before opening it up more broadly.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“Input from this group will also form the basis of an Archive report that will be available starting in September,” Leathern said.

The API offers ad creative, start and end date, and performance data, including total spend and impressions for ads.

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It also shows demographics of people reached, including age, gender and location.

“We’re greatly encouraged by trends and insights that watchdog groups, publishers and academics have unearthed since the archive launched in May. We believe this deeper analysis will increase accountability for both Facebook and advertisers,” Leathern said. (IANS)

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Facebook Introduces New Tools to Protect Elections Globally

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Senate, saying they were too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference

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Facebook expands security tools to protect elections globally. Pixabay

In order to further secure candidates and campaign staff vulnerable to hackers and nation-state actors during the elections, Facebook has introduced additional tools to protect political campaigns in the US and around the world.

The social media giant has launched a pilot programme to expand its existing protections for users associated with US political campaigns ahead of the 2018 mid-term elections.

“Candidates for federal or statewide office, as well as staff members and representatives from federal and state political party committees, can add additional security protections to their Pages and accounts,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, wrote in a blog post late on Monday.

“We’ll help officials adopt our strongest account security protections, like two-factor authentication, and monitor for potential hacking threats,” Gleicher added.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Over the past year, the company has invested in new technology and more people to stay ahead of bad actors who are determined to use Facebook to disrupt elections.

“This pilot programme is an addition to our existing security tools and procedures, and we will apply what we learn to other elections in the US and around the world,” said Facebook.

“As we detect abuse, we will continue to share relevant information with law enforcement and other companies so we can maximise our effectiveness,” it added.

According to a report in Download, a working paper released last week revealed a significant drop-off in the engagements 570 fake news sites received on Facebook since the 2016 US presidential elections.

“At its peak, there were 200 million monthly engagements with the sites. As of July 2018, that’s dropped to 70 million,” the report added.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Senate, saying they were too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference.

“Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving quickly. We now have about 15,000 people working on security and content review. We’ll have more than 20,000 by the end of this year,” he told the lawmakers.

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The Facebook CEO apologised for what happened and took responsibility for everything. He also said that there is an online propaganda “arms race” with Russia and it was important to make sure no one interferes in any more elections, including in India.

“The most important thing I care about right now is making sure no one interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world,” he testified before a 44-Senator panel. (IANS)