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Facebook Tightens Political Advertising to Prevent Foreign Interference ahead of EU Election

However, some EU politicians criticized the social media giant, saying the measures will make pan-European online campaigning harder

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FILE - An illustration shows a 3-D-printed Facebook logo placed on broken glass above a printed EU flag. VOA

Facebook said Friday it is further tightening requirements for European Union political advertising, in its latest efforts to prevent foreign interference and increase transparency ahead of the bloc’s parliamentary elections.

However, some EU politicians criticized the social media giant, saying the measures will make pan-European online campaigning harder.

Under the new rules, people, parties and other groups buying political ads will have to confirm to Facebook that they are located in the same EU country as the Facebook users they are targeting.

That’s on top of a previously announced requirement for ad buyers to confirm their identities. It means advertisements aimed at voters across the EU’s 28 countries will have to register a person in each of those nations.

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Under the new rules, people, parties and other groups buying political ads will have to confirm to Facebook that they are located in the same EU country as the Facebook users they are targeting. Pixabay

“It’s a disgrace that Facebook doesn’t see Europe as an entity and appears not to care about the consequences of undermining European democracy,” Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the parliament’s liberal ALDE group, said on Twitter. “Limiting political campaigns to one country is totally the opposite of what we want.”

The response underscores the balancing act for Silicon Valley tech companies as they face pressure from EU authorities to do more to prevent their platforms being used by outside groups, including Russia, to meddle in the May elections. Hundreds of millions of people are set to vote for more than 700 EU parliamentary lawmakers.

Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said it will start blocking ads that don’t comply in mid-April.

The company will ask ad buyers to submit documents and use technical checks to verify their identity and location.

Facebook statement

“We recognize that some people can try and work around any system but we are confident this will be a real barrier for anyone thinking of using our ads to interfere in an election from outside of a country,” Richard Allen, Facebook’s vice president of global policy solutions, said in a blog post.

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Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said it will start blocking ads that don’t comply in mid-April. VOA

Facebook said earlier this year that EU political ads will carry “paid for by” disclaimers. Clicking the label will reveal more detailed information such as how much money was spent on the ad, how many people saw it, and their age, gender and location.

ALSO READ: Facebook Introduces New Tools to Protect EU Polls

The ad transparency rules have already been rolled out in the U.S., Britain, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Israel. Facebook will expand them globally by the end of June.

Twitter and Google have introduced similar political ad requirements.

Facebook is also making improvements to a database that stores ads for seven years, including widening access so that election regulators and watchdog groups can analyze political or issue ads. (VOA)

Next Story

New “Off-Facebook Activity” Tool On Facebook To Let Users Protect Browsing History

The social networking giant also introduced alerts for third-party logins

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Over the next few weeks, Facebook will show nearly two billion people a prompt, encouraging them to review their privacy settings. Pixabay

To give over two billion users more control over their privacy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced several new features, including an ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ tool that will let users disconnect their identities from browsing history so Facebook won’t be able to see which websites they visit.

The ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ tool is now available to people on Facebook around the world.

“Other businesses send us information about your activity on their sites and we use that information to show you ads that are relevant to you. Now you can see a summary of that information and clear it from your account if you want to,” Zuckerberg said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Off-Facebook Activity marks a new level of transparency and control,” he added.

Over the next few weeks, Facebook will show nearly two billion people a prompt, encouraging them to review their privacy settings.

“The prompt will show up in your News Feed and direct you to the Privacy Checkup tool, which we recently updated,” said Zuckerberg.

“This makes it even easier to adjust who can see your posts and profile information, strengthen your account security by turning on login alerts, and review the information you share with apps you’ve logged in with Facebook.”

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To give over two billion users more control over their privacy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced several new features, including an ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ tool that will let users disconnect their identities from browsing history so Facebook won’t be able to see which websites they visit. Pixabay

The social networking giant also introduced alerts for third-party logins.

Facebook Login lets users sign in to other apps and services, like games and streaming platforms, using the Facebook account.

ALSO READ: “Collaboration Is The Key To Ensure Cyber-Security”, Says Microsoft

“To help you keep track of your activity, we rolled out Login Notifications earlier this month. These notifications alert you when you use Facebook Login to sign in to third-party apps to help you stay aware of how your account is being used and edit your settings,” said Zuckerberg, adding that one of his main goals is to build much stronger privacy protections for everyone on Facebook. (IANS)