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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)

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Wikipedia Co-founder Launching Social Media Website “WT: Social”

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is launching a social-media website named "WT: Social" which will compete Facebook and Twitter

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Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is launching a social media website names "WT: Social". Pixabay

Intended to get right what Facebook and Twitter have so far been getting wrong, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is launching a social-media website named “WT: Social” which will compete with both the social media platforms.

Instead of going for an ad-funded model, Wales aims to finance it through donations, just like Wikipedia.

Like those platforms, WT:Social will let users share articles. But WT:Social will be funded by donations, rather than advertising.

Wikipedia, Social Media
Like other social media platforms,Wikipedia’s WT:Social will let users share articles. Pixabay

“The business model of social media companies, of pure advertising, is problematic. It turns out the huge winner is low-quality content,” Wales was quoted as saying by Financial Times, according to an Engadget report.

It started as Wikitribune — a site that published original news stories with the community fact-checking and sub-editing articles. The venture never gained much traction, so Wales is moving it to the new platform with a more social networking focus.

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WT:Social will be free to join, but at the moment, you either have to sign up for a waitlist, donate or invite friends. Just a month old, it already has 50,000 users, the Engadget report added. (IANS)