Facebook Cracks Down on Political Ads Ahead of EU Elections

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at the European Parliament, prior to his audition on the data privacy scandal on May 22, 2018 at the European Union headquarters in Brussels. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook recently stated that the company plans to tighten rules around political advertisements on the social media platform ahead of E.U. elections this Spring.

Reuters reports that social media platform Facebook recently promised to tighten the rules and safeguard surrounding political advertisements on the site; this is apparently being done in order to reign in foreign influence in elections ahead of European elections this year. Facebook’s recently-appointed Head of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, told a news conference: “We will require those wanting to run political and issue ads to be authorized, and we will display a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer on those ads.”

Clegg stated that the new political advertising tools are set to be launched in late March and aim to protect the integrity of European Union elections which are taking place in the spring. Facebook plans to launch the tools globally before the end of June but will be launching tools in India in February before the country’s elections; similarly, Ukraine and Israel will also be receiving access to these tools.

Clegg stated that these new tools are similar to the ones already set up in the U.S. and all political ads on the platform will be stored in an online public library for up to seven years and will provide detailed information on the advertisements. This information will include how much money was spent on the advertisements, the impression and reach it received and the demographics who saw the ad.

Facebook also plans to launch two new regional operation centers aimed at monitoring election-related content in their offices in Dublin, Ireland, and Singapore. Clegg denied questions about whether or not the social media site sells users information to advertisers stating: “Selling people’s information to advertisers would not only be the wrong thing to do, it would undermine the way we do business, because it would reduce the unique value of our service to advertisers.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg appeared at the DLD conference in Munich recently where she stated that she “understands the deep responsibilities we have,” as the platform attempts to regain their users trust following a full year of user data leak scandals.

“At Facebook, these last few years have been difficult,” Sandberg said during her speech at the conference. “We need to stop abuse more quickly and we need to do better to protect people’s data. We have acknowledged our mistakes.” Sandberg stated that as the company “reflects and learns,” there are a number of actions that the company can take to regain their users’ trust.

Sandberg stated that the company can work on investing in the platform’s safety and security; taking further steps to protect against election interference; focusing on removing fake accounts and fake information from the platform; increasing transparency at the company and finally, helping users feel as if they have control over their own personal information.

Sandberg still seems positive about the future of the company, stating that: “We have to [take action] because so many people use technology for good,” and adding that Facebook has become one of the largest job creation platforms in the world. Sandberg definitively stated that Facebook was “far from done.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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