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Facebook to Enforce Political Ad Transparency in UK

Facebook said it was exempting news organisations wanting to promote their stories on the social networking platform from undergoing a similar process

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Facebook testing 'LOL' app to woo kids, experts wary. Pixabay

Facebook has finally rolled out in Britain a political ad transparency feature that requires advertisers to prove that they live in the country and also disclose who paid for the advertisement.

“Today, we’ll begin enforcing the authorisation process for political advertisers in the UK,” Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.

“Now political advertisers must confirm their identity and location, as well as say who paid for the ad, before they can be approved to run political ads on Facebook and/or Instagram,” Leathern said, adding that ads related to politics will be housed in an “Ad Library” for seven years. Instagram is a Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform.

Facebook said only registered advertisers will be allowed to run a political ad on the platform.

“If we learn of an ad that requires authorisation and is running without a ‘Paid for by’ disclaimer, we’ll take it down and place it in the Ad Library,” Leathern added.

The requirement is the final step of a process started in October to crack down on political “dark adverts” on the social network, the Guardian reported.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Facebook wanted to launch the feature about two weeks ago, but a damaging series of stories cast doubts on the effectiveness of the system.

The system, for example, allowed a set of adverts to be falsely labelled as “paid for by Cambridge Analytica” and another as “paid for by the Islamic State”.

The social networking giant said it had made changes to the review process to try and prevent a repeat of such errors, the Guardian report said.

“Enforcement on these ads will never be perfect, but we’ll continue to work on improving our systems and technology to prevent abuse,” Leathern said.

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Facebook first launched these new ad transparency and authorisation initiatives in the US in May, and later introduced them in Brazil and Britain.

Facebook said it was exempting news organisations wanting to promote their stories on the social networking platform from undergoing a similar process.

“As enforcement begins today in the UK, we will not require eligible news publishers to get authorised, and we won’t include their ads in the Ad Library,” Leathern said. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook Faces Trial Over Data Breach Affecting Nearly 30 Million Users

Facebook expects the fine to be in the range of $3-5 billion and has kept aside $3 billion in legal expenses related to the investigation

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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

In a setback, a US court has rejected Facebook’s claims to block a lawsuit against it in a data breach that affected nearly 30 million users in September last year.

According to a report in Seeking Alpha on Monday, US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco dismissed Facebook’s request, saying claims that Facebook was negligent and failed to secure users’ data as promised can go forward, and discovery should move “with alacrity” toward trial.

In September, Facebook admitted that unknown hackers exploited three bugs to steal the personal details of 50 million users — later adjusted to 30 million.

Turkey’s Personal Data Protection Authority has already fined Facebook 1.65 million Turkish liras ($280,000) over data breach. Nearly 300,000 users in Turkey may have been affected by the data breach.

According to the Turkish watchdog, Facebook failed to timely intervene to take proper technical and administrative measures during the 12-day existence of the bug last September.

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FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

According to a statement from Facebook in December, the company had discovered a photo API bug that allowed third-party applications to access the photos of Facebook users.

At the time, Facebook said that the bug “might have exposed the non-public photos of 6.8 million users to around 1,500 apps built by 876 developers”.

In March this year, Facebook disclosed yet another security incident, admitting to storing hundreds of millions of users’ passwords in plaintext, along with plaintext passwords for millions of Instagram accounts.

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Facebook is facing a hefty fine from the US Federal Trade Commission over data privacy scandals

Facebook expects the fine to be in the range of $3-5 billion and has kept aside $3 billion in legal expenses related to the investigation. (IANS)