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Facebook, Twitter Introduce New Guidelines For Political Ads

If people see an ad which they believe has political content and is not labelled, they can report back to Facebook

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay
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In a fresh attempt to prevent foreign interference in elections globally, Facebook and Twitter have announced new guidelines for political advertisements on their platforms, beginning with the US.

Facebook has begun labelling all political and issue ads, including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the advertisement.

Advertisers wanting to run ads with political content in the US will also need to verify their identity and location, the social media giant said in a blog post late Thursday.

Twitter on the other hand is asking advertisers who wish to target the US with political campaigning ads to file for certification and adhere to fresh rules.

Also Read: Twitter Will Add Special Labels to Political Candidates in US

The changes, currently introduced in the US, are aimed at preventing a situation like the 2016 US presidential election when Russian advertisers created fake posts and bought ads to interfere in the election process.

According to Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook, “when you click on the label, you’ll be taken to an archive with more information. For example, the campaign budget associated with an individual ad and how many people saw it — including their age, location and gender”.

If people see an ad which they believe has political content and is not labelled, they can report back to Facebook.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

To do so, just tap the three dots at the top right-hand corner of the ad, select “report”, and then “it refers to a political candidate or issue”.

“Facebook will review the ad, and if it falls under our Political Advertising policy, we’ll take it down and add it to the archive,” Leathern wrote.

The advertiser will then be banned from running ads with political content until they complete Facebook’s authorisation process.

Twitter said that in addition to its Ads policies, “all political advertisers must comply with applicable laws regarding disclosure and content requirements, eligibility restrictions, and blackout dates for the countries where they advertise”.

Also Read: Facebook Unveils Three-pronged Strategy to Fight Fake News

The policy applies to ads purchased by a political committee or candidate registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) or ads advocating for or against a clearly identified candidate for Federal office in the US.

Foreign nationals are prohibited from targeting political campaigning advertisements to the US, Twitter said.

The Twitter handle associated with the certified ads account must provide profile photo, header photo and the website must be consistent with the Twitter handle’s online presence.

“Bio must include a website that provides valid contact info. If the handle name is not related to the certified entity, the bio must include the following disclaimer: ‘Owned by (certified entity name)’,” said Twitter. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)