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How Facebook Is Smartly Controlling The Political Ad Transparency In India

Facebook requires those who opt for the "Published by" label to go through another level of authentication to ensure the entity/organisation cited is authentic.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

In the run-up to the general election in India, Facebook has smartly tweaked a new tool aimed at bringing transparency to ads related to politics in the country.

Unlike in other countries where the feature is available, political advertisers in India will be able to skip the “Paid for by” disclaimer by choosing a “Published by” label – leaving people guessing who actually paid for the ad.

The social media giant earlier introduced the political ad transparency tool in the US, Brazil, and the UK, and in December last year, it announced that the tool would be brought to India ahead of the forthcoming general election in the country.

elections
In the run-up to the general election in India, Facebook has smartly tweaked a new tool aimed at bringing transparency to ads related to politics in the country.

It finally brought the tool to India on Thursday.

As part of these changes which will be enforced by Facebook from February 21, anyone who wants to run ads related to politics in India will have to reveal their identity and location to pass the authorisation process and have a “Published by” or “Paid for by” label.

“The tool comes with some India-specific features,” Shivnath Thukral, Facebook’s Public Policy Director for India and South Asia told IANS in an interview.

“The law of the land does not require us to make the ‘Paid for by’ label mandatory in India,” Thukral added.

When asked if that could help some advertisers to fudge data, Thukral said the social media platform has taken key steps towards transparency and that it would be open to feedback and suggestion and learn from them.

“Many new things will happen over the next months and years,” he added.

Facebook requires those who opt for the “Published by” label to go through another level of authentication to ensure the entity/organisation cited is authentic.

In our conversation with Election Commission, we learnt that it is essential to give political parties the option to upload the certificate," Thukral told IANS
In our conversation with Election Commission, we learnt that it is essential to give political parties the option to upload the certificate,” Thukral told IANS. Wikimedia Comons

Whatever of these two options one chooses, users will still be able to see how much money was spent on the ad, which age group the ad targets and how long it will run among other details.

Facebook verifies residency of advertisers either by physical verification (by sending someone to the address provided) or by sending a code in the post. Facebook, Thukral added, has partnered with external agencies for physical verification of the location of the advertisers.

To be approved by Facebook, one needs to have a residency in India, he said, adding that the verification process takes around four to five days.

Since the authorisation process was announced in December, thousands have applied so far, Thukral said.

Another India-first feature that Facebook introduced was that advertisers can begin the authorisations on their mobile phones itself instead of logging in from a desktop.

Moreover, Facebook also introduced for registered political parties in India an option to upload their Media Certification and Monitoring Committee Certificate from India’s Election Commission.

“In our conversation with Election Commission, we learnt that it is essential to give political parties the option to upload the certificate,” Thukral told IANS.

Also Read: Facebook Says That it Has Changed Over Years

When a person clicks on the disclaimer, they will be taken to a searchable Ad Library where they can see important information related to the ad, including range of impressions, range of spend, and information about who saw the ad, like age, gender and location across India.

The disclaimer credentials will also appear in the Ad Library, Facebook said. (IANS)

Next Story

Quit Facebook Now to Secure Good Grades in Exams

However, even when students used Facebook primarily for educational purposes, it was still a problem for lower performing students

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

Parents, take note. If you want your children to score good grades in exams, tell them to quit social media as researchers have found that students whose grades were below average could boost their results if they devoted less time on social networking sites, especially Facebook.

The study, published in the journal Computers & Education, looked at the amount of time first-year university students spent on Facebook, and the impact it had on their grades.

More than 500 students enrolled in the first year subject ‘Introductory Accounting’ at an Australian university took part in the study, with an average age of 19.

The research from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) showed that while high Facachieving students were not affected by the amount of time on Facebook, below average students had significantly lower grades with greater Facebook use.

“Our research shows time spent on social networking platforms puts lower academic achievers at higher risk of failing their course,” said study researcher James Wakefield from the UTS.

Students taking part in the study spent on average nearly two hours a day on Facebook, however some were on the social networking site in excess of eight hours a day.

“Lower achieving students may already be grappling with self-regulation and focus, so it seems time spent on Facebook provides a further distraction from studies,” Wakefield said.

Researchers found that if the students used Facebook for three hours a day – not substantially higher than the average of just under two hours – the difference was around six marks in a 60 mark exam or 10 per cent.

Fake, News, WhatsApp, Facebook, India
The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

While the research applies to university students studying STEM and business degrees, it is likely to also be relevant to high school students who use social media.

For the findings, researchers assessed the students’ general academic achievement using their weighted average mark (WAM) across all of their studies, and surveyed them about their Facebook use.

They also controlled for other factors that might influence their achievement, such as whether they were planning to major in accounting, as well as their age and gender.

“It appears that for students with lower academic achievement, the use of social networking sites replaces study time, whereas high achieving students are able to juggle both,” he said.

Also Read: Tech Giant Google Secretly Gathering Health Information of Millions of US Citizens

According to the researchers, students with below average grades would benefit from switching off notifications on their phones, and either quitting or reducing time spent on Facebook.

The research also looked at why students were using Facebook – whether to keep in touch with family and friends, for entertainment or for study purposes.

However, even when students used Facebook primarily for educational purposes, it was still a problem for lower performing students. (IANS)