FACEBOOK NETWORK – Political advertisement rules have been made tougher by Facebook Inc. in Europe ahead of the bloc’s high profile legislative elections.
According to Facebook, it has dedicated resources and staff into protecting the ballot across 27 EU countries on May 26. This comes years after the company was grilled by regulators after suspicions that Russia has used the social media platform to influence surveys that pushed US President Donald Trump to power.
“I don’t want anyone to be in any doubt that this is a top priority for the company, “ said Facebook vice president of global solutions Richard Allan.
According to Facebook, all political ads will have the label “paid for.” Information about who bought it, how much, and how many people have viewed the ads will also be available, arranged by age, gender, and location.
To be able to run political ads in a given country, the advertiser should be located and authorized in that nation. This is the same for policies in other places where the tools have been implemented. The advertisements will also stay archived for seven years and the public would be able to access it.
The company also said that it will block advertisements that fail to follow the policies from mid-April. The tighter ad policies, which have already been rolled out in the United States, Brazil, India, Ukraine, Israel, and Britain, will be implemented globally by late June.
Tighter Rules and Compliance
In spite of the calls by the political groups that compose the European parliament to enable a one-stop shop for European advertising, the social media network giant said that the risks were too high. There would also be a problem in terms of the timeline.
“The convenience…we understand why they want that, but we could not find any way to carve that out without opening up opportunities nobody would want to see,” said Allan.
Allan added that if they do it while the polls in each of the EU member countries are governed by local election rules, there would be little recourse for regulators should a breach of law takes place.
As for the ad policies, issue categories are different for each country. For Europe, they will be immigration, political values, civil and social rights, security and foreign policy, economy, and environmental politics.
The company said it was working with independent fact-checkers to fight disinformation, as well as a cybersecurity team that will foil fake accounts and misbehaving users.
Last week, with the polls fast approaching, EU leaders called for private operators like online platforms and social networks to “ensure higher standards of responsibility and transparency.”