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Facebook Restricts External Campaigners From Accessing Political Ads

"Anyone who wants to run an ad in India related to politics will need to first confirm their identity and location, and give more details about who placed the ad," said the social networking giant

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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

At a time when over a third of the world’s population is set to vote in coming months including in India, Facebook has restricted external transparency campaigners from accessing and scrutinising political ads on its platform.

According to a Guardian report late Sunday, the social media giant has changed its codes that restrict external groups’ ability to collect data on why users are being targeted by political campaigners.

The third-party monitoring tools have helped expose several advertising tactics used by politicians in the past, the report added.

Two such external agencies are the British group WhoTargetsMe and the US investigative journalism website ProPublica.

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Zuckerberg gears up for debates on public forums. VOA

“Ten days ago, our software stopped working, and efforts to fix it have proved much harder than before,” WhoTargetsMe Co-founder Sam Jeffers was quoted as saying.

According to Facebook, the changes were part of a crackdown on third party plug-ins.

“We regularly improve the ways we prevent unauthorised access by third parties like web browser plug-ins to keep people’s information safe,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Data collected by WhoTargetsMe has helped show how the Conservatives were focusing on personal criticism of shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott during the end of the 2017 campaign.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Facebook’s move comes in a year “when over a third of the world’s population has the opportunity to vote, with elections across the EU, India, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Israel and Ukraine to name a few,” said Jeffers.

A similar ad monitoring tool by ProPublica in the past highlighted “negative stories for the social network such as exposing how oil companies are sidestepping Facebook’s new ad transparency tools among other issues”.

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Facing intense scrutiny over the misuse of its platform globally during elections, Facebook in December announced fresh steps to increase ad transparency and defend against foreign interference ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in India.

“Anyone who wants to run an ad in India related to politics will need to first confirm their identity and location, and give more details about who placed the ad,” said the social networking giant. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Media Giant Facebook Hiring Experts For its Blockchain Division

Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that he was hiring Bitcoin developers for his payments company, Square

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Social-networking giant Facebook is seeking executives to work in its secretive Blockchain division and to work on the company’s own blockchain applications and cryptocurrency.

Facebook has listed 22 vacancies on its Careers page for the division including openings for lead commercial counsel, product manager, finance analyst, data engineer and threat investigator among others.

The listings suggests that Facebook is particularly focused on recruiting experts in marketing, interface design, product management, software engineering, and legal fields concerning Blockchain.

Facebook, data, photos, vietnam
A smartphone user displays a Facebook newsfeed .VOA

The company already has a team of 50 people working discreetly in a secretive corner of its Menlo Park head office, The Next Web reported on Monday.

“If Facebook’s blockchain hiring spree continues, its team could be in the hundreds before the end of the year” the report said.

Also Read- Tech Giant Google Letting Android Users Create Events on Maps

Lately, several companies have been looking to add new streams of revenue to their business models and Blockchain has emerged as a popular choice to boost businesses.

Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that he was hiring Bitcoin developers for his payments company, Square. (IANS)