Facebook Clamps Down on Political Advertising Ahead of 2020 Election

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the second day of testimony before Congress by Zuckerberg, 33, after it was reported that 87 …
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Facebook is reportedly clamping down with rules relating to political ads in the United States ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Reuters reports that Facebook plans to introduce a new “confirmed organization” label for U.S. political advertisers. In order to receive this label, advertisers will have to provide government-issued credentials that prove they are legitimate. All advertisers that are running political ads will have to post their contact information even if they are not attempting to receive Facebook’s confirmed organization label.

Facebook has given advertisers a deadline of mid-October to comply with these new rules or they could have their ads removed from Facebook’s platform. Facebook has required advertisers to place a “paid for by” disclaimer on ads since May 2018 but the social media firm stated that some had used misleading disclaimers or tried to register nonexistent organizations to circumvent this.

Breitbart News previously reported on Facebook’s problems with the system, which allowed advertisers to claim that political ads were paid for by Mike Pence, Senators, and even ISIS.

Sarah Schiff, product manager at Facebook stated: “In 2018 we did see evidence of misuse in these disclaimers and so this is our effort to strengthen the process.” Vice News made an example of this last year, posting ads on behalf of individuals such as Vice President Mike Pence which stated they were sponsored by the “Islamic State.”

In order to receive a “confirmed organization” label, advertisers will have to submit a Federal Election Commission ID number, tax-registered organization ID number, or government website domain matching an official email. Facebook previously launched an online library of political ads but was criticized by many who attempted to use it, claiming that it was poorly maintained and did not provide useful ad targeting information.

Facebook has previously banned a number of legitimate political ads, in 2018 the firm banned Republican congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng’s campaign ad about communist crimes that led her family to flee Cambodia for the U.S., as Facebook claimed that the platform doesn’t allow “shocking, disrespectful, or sensational” content.

In April of 2019, Breitbart News reported that news publishers were made exempt from Facebook’s political advertising database. From Breitbart’s article:

Last week, the social network announced the rollout of its new “Ad Library,” a publicly accessible database of political ads that have run on the platform, including data on who saw the ad, how many impressions it received, and how much was spent to promote it.

However, mainstream news publishers — who have become adept at pressuring Silicon Valley to follow their lead — will be exempt from the requirement to tag political ads for the ads library.

In other words, even if a news publisher runs an ad specifically related to politics or a political issue, observers will be unable to track its spend, impact and reach through Facebook. The impact of ads from news publishers on politics and political issues through Facebook will remain concealed from the public.

Gary Coby, a former marketing and advertising director for the Trump 2016 campaign, pointed out that this raised major questions over Facebook’s commitment to transparency, and offers a huge advantage to mainstream media organizations.

Read the full article here.

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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