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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

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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Political ad Spend on Facebook Picks up in April

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Political parties and their affiliates ramped up spending on social media ads ahead of the third phase of Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for Tuesday, show data released by Facebook Ad Library.

Indians spent around Rs 7 crore for running political ads on Facebook and Instagram in the first 20 days of April, while the amount spent on these platforms in February-March was about Rs 10 crore.

Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database, includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance run on Facebook or Instagram.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates continue to lead the ad spending on Facebook. The official BJP page took the top spot in the list of spenders on social media platforms. Of the Rs 1.3 crore that it spent on Facebook, Rs 44.32 lakh was spent during the week ending April 20.

The official Congress page on Facebook spent Rs 56.69 lakh during February-April 20.

However, supporters and affiliates of political parties account for most of the spending on the social media platforms.

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FILE – An Indian man surfs a Facebook page at an Internet cafe in New Delhi, India, Feb. 9, 2016. VOA

For example, the pro-BJP pages — Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat (Rs 2.23 core), My First Vote For Modi (Rs 1.08 crore) and Nation with NaMo (Rs 1.20 crore) among others — spent much more than the Congress.

Similarly, the pro-Congress page “Bande Mein Hai Dum” spent Rs 2.59 lakh for drumming up support for the grand old party on Facebook and the Indian Youth Congress spent Rs 6.52 lakh on the social media platform.

Among the regional parties, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lead the spending table on Facebook.

Also Read- Warning for WhatsApp Users in UAE Issued: Report

On Twitter, the accounts spending over $100 during the past week belonged to BJP MLA from Mandawa Narendra Kumar, Mumbai Congress unit chief Milind Deora, Congress leader and former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, BJD President Naveen Patnaik and the TN Youth Party.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. (IANS)