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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.

Facebook
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 Adding New Privacy Control Feature on its Android App

The 'Location Services' setting for iOS also comes with three choices -- Never, While Using and Always -- for when an app could access the precise location of the users

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Facebook is adding a new privacy control feature to its Android app that will allow users to block the app from collecting and saving their background location information.

“We’re introducing a new background location control on Facebook for Android so people can choose if they want us to collect location information when they’re not using the app,” Paul McDonald, Engineering Director, Location Infrastructure, Facebook wrote in a blog-post on Wednesday.

Until now, users using features location like “Nearby Friends” or “Check-in” on Facebook were asked to enable their “Location History” setting.

Enabling the “Location Sharing” feature shared the user location even when the app was not being used, allowing Facebook to store that history.

“With this update, you’ll have a dedicated way to choose whether or not to share your location when you aren’t using the app,” McDonald said.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook is also updating the “Access Your Information” feature to include an estimate of users’ primary location at the city or postal code level.

“We’re not making any changes to the choices you’ve previously made nor are we collecting any new information as a result of this update,” McDonald added.

This update announcement came just days after Facebook’s security team had used location information to track missing interns and users deemed to be threats, The Verge reported.

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For iOS users though the location setting was not such big an issue as Facebook would send an alert to users who chose to turn on the “Location History” feature so that they could check to make sure their settings are right for them.

The ‘Location Services’ setting for iOS also comes with three choices — Never, While Using and Always — for when an app could access the precise location of the users. (IANS)