Facebook on Thursday announced it will show fewer political ads to people on its platform and Instagram, starting with the US which faces Presidential elections this year, but won’t ban or limit those as Twitter has already done and Google to some extent.
Targeting both Twitter and Google, the social networking platform said that while Twitter has chosen to block political ads and Google has chosen to limit the targeting of political ads, “we are choosing to expand transparency and give more controls to people when it comes to political ads”.
“Seeing fewer political and social issue ads is a common request we hear from people. That’s why we plan to add a new control that will allow people to see fewer political and social issue ads on Facebook and Instagram,” said Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook.
The expanded transparency features will roll out in the first quarter of 2020 and will apply in all countries where Facebook facilitates “Paid for by” disclaimers on ads.
“We plan to deploy the political ads control starting in the US early this summer, eventually expanding this preference to more locations,” said the company.
The social networking platform said it is updating its Ad Library to increase the level of transparency.
“We are adding ranges for Potential Reach, which is the estimated target audience size for each political, electoral or social issue ad so you can see how many people an advertiser wanted to reach with every ad,” said Facebook.
The company said it is adding the ability to search for ads with exact phrases, better grouping of similar ads, and adding several new filters to better analyze results like audience size, dates and regions reached.
Later this month, it will begin rolling out a control to let people choose how an advertiser can reach them with a Custom Audience from a list.
These Custom Audiences are built when an advertiser uploads a hashed list of people’s information, such as emails or phone numbers, to help target ads.
“This control will be available to all people on Facebook and will apply to all advertisers, not just those running political or social issue ads,” said Facebook.
According to the company, when it comes to targeting, “our data actually indicates over 85 per cent of spend by US presidential candidates on Facebook is for ad campaigns targeted to audiences estimated to be greater than 250,000”. (IANS)