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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
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)

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India: CSC Partners with Facebook to Provide Digital Skill Training to Women Village Level Entrepreneurs

India has made dramatic strides in expanding access to affordable mobile broadband in the last few years

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Facebook, Digital Skills, Women
In the first year of this project, Facebook, in collaboration with CSC Academy, plans to provide tools and digital skills training to more than 250,000 people across over 3,000 villages in 10 states in India. Pixabay

Common Services Centre (CSC), which serves as access point for the delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, on Tuesday announced a partnership with social media giant Facebook to provide digital skill training to women village level entrepreneurs.

In the first year of this project, Facebook, in collaboration with CSC Academy, plans to provide tools and digital skills training to more than 250,000 people across over 3,000 villages in 10 states in India.

“India has made dramatic strides in expanding access to affordable mobile broadband in the last few years. We are excited to partner with CSC Academy to create a programme that will build on this success as well as the outstanding community networks that CSC has built over the years,” Ajit Mohan, Managing Director, Facebook India, said while speaking at the CSC Diwas celebration here.

As part of the project CSC will identify and nominate 5,000 women village level entrepreneurs across 10 states – Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Facebook, Digital Skills, Women
Common Services Centre (CSC), which serves as access point for the delivery of various electronic services to villages in India. Pixabay

These women entrepreneurs will be given training sessions on leveraging various Facebook tools to not just build and grow their business but also on how to train people on the ground.

These entrepreneurs will further help build awareness to ensure that the community is able to learn from each other.

CSC along with Facebook will co-create a curriculum (online and offline) around digital marketing skills and online safety in over 14 regional languages.

“CSC has unleashed entrepreneurs across villages in India, many of them women. With the #DigitalBeti programme, our objective is to arm these village level entrepreneurs with similar digital tool kits that large corporations have access to, and unleash their full potential and their ability to create economic opportunities for themselves and their communities,” Mohan said.

Also Read- Facebook Preparing Launch of Serious Competitor to Short Video-Sharing App TikTok

From just 13,000 women village level entrepreneurs in 2014, today more than 73,000 women entrepreneurs are working across 3.66 lakh CSC centres, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. (IANS)