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Facebook To Scrutinize Political Ads More

In order to prevent election interference on its platform, Facebook has introduced new changes to increase transparency and accountability for electoral ads and Pages

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Facebook
Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported. Pixabay

In order to prevent election interference on its platform, Facebook has introduced new changes to increase transparency and accountability for electoral ads and Pages.

To get authorised by Facebook, advertisers will now need to confirm their identity and location. “Advertisers will be prohibited from running political ads — electoral or issue-based — until they are authorised,” Rob Goldman, Vice President, Ads at Facebook, said in a blog post late Friday.

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Facebook was accused of leaking data to Cambridge Analytica.

Last year, the social media platform announced that only authorised advertisers will be able to run electoral ads on Facebook or Instagram.

“In addition, these ads will be clearly labeled in the top left corner as aPolitical Ad’. Next to it, we will show ‘paid for by’ information,” added Alex Himel, Vice President, Local and Pages.

“We started testing the authorisation process this week, and people will begin seeing the label and additional information in the US later this spring,” the blog post added.

Facebook is also investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and adding more people to help find advertisers that should have gone through the authorisation process but did not.

The company has also asked users to report if they see an unlabeled political ad. People can do this by tapping the three dots at the top right corner of the ad and selecting “Report Ad.”

Also Read: Over 5 lakh Indian users’ data shared with Cambridge Analytica: Facebook

In Canada, Facebook is testing a new feature called “view ads” that lets you see the ads a Page is running even if they are not in your News Feed.

“This applies to all advertiser Pages on Facebook — not just Pages running political ads. We plan to launch view ads globally in June,” the post added.

In June, Facebook also plans to release a public, searchable political ads archive. This will contain all ads with the “Political Ad” label, and will show the image and text, as well as additional information like the amount spent and demographic audience information for each ad.

“We’re also announcing that people who manage Pages with large numbers of followers will need to be verified,” said Goldman. Those who manage large Pages that do not clear the process will no longer be able to post. The new updates, Facebook said, are designed to prevent future abuse in elections.

facebook
The social media app is in news for all the wrong reasons lately. VOA

Earlier this week, Facebook showed country-specific break-up of people affected by the data breach, saying information of up to 87 million people, mostly in the US, may have been “improperly” shared with British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica via a quiz app, “thisisyourdigitallife”, between November 2013 and December 2015.

The British political research organisation, which collaborated with Donald Trump’s campaign in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential election, used the leaked information to develop a computer programme to predict the decisions of US voters and allegedly influence them. IANS

Next Story

Facebook Kills 300 Fake Pages and Accounts Linked To Russia

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories

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Facebook, social media
Facebook kills over 300 Russia-linked fake accounts, Pages, (VOA)

Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday killed over 300 fake Pages and accounts linked to Russia that it said was “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, almost two years after the US presidential election.

The social media giant removed 364 Pages and accounts as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries.

“The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine.

“Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

About $135,000 were spent in ads, and paid for in euros, roubles and dollars, over a time span from October 2013 to now.

Around 790,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages (now taken down) on the social media platform.

“We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they post. In these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves,” Gleicher added.

The pages hosted about 190 events, with the most recent scheduled for January 2019, and about 1,200 people expressing interest in them.

We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred, the company added.

Facebook, data
Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

Separately, the social networking giant removed another 107 pages, groups and accounts as well as 41 Instagram accounts that were designed to look like they were operating from Ukraine, but were in fact part of a network that originated in Russia.

Also Read: Facebook Violated Cyber Security Law: Vietnam

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories on topics ranging from weather, protests, NATO to health conditions at schools.

“We identified some technical overlap with Russia-based activity we saw prior to the US midterm elections, including behaviour that shared characteristics with previous Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity,” the company said. (IANS)