Facebook Inc. has turned to Canada to test new features that will reveal how advertisers are targeting their messages on the social networking platform — and will introduce additional controls on political advertisements.
Starting next month in Canada, any advertisement purchased on Facebook will need to be connected with a Facebook page (most brands and companies currently use pages to post content and interact with their clients), and a new tab appearing on each page will let anybody see what advertisements that firm has bought and how they’ve been targeted. Formerly, people saw advertisements on Facebook only when they had been a part of the targeted audience for those advertisements. Following the Canadian evaluation, the attribute will expand into other countries, including the USA, in the summertime.
“Beginning in Canada was a natural choice because this effort contrasts with our election ethics work already under way there,” Rob Goldman, vice-president of merchandise for advertisements and pages in Facebook, stated in a press release.
He was speaking to Facebook’s announcement last week that it would provide better help for politicians and political parties to secure their webpages, and an emergency contact for people who’d been hacked, in addition to starting an educational program with non-profit group MediaSmarts to notify people about fake news.
These initiatives are a response to significant public pressure on Facebook to take responsibility for the role it plays in shaping political discourse. Earlier this month, the company handed over 3,000 advertisements purchased by Russians into the U.S. congressional investigators looking into Russian interference in last year’s election. Last month, Facebook explained that an operation apparently established in Russia had spent $100,000 (U.S.) on advertisements over a couple of decades, focused on divisive messages surrounding social and political issues like race, immigration, and LGBTQ rights.
Facebook has also said it’s using machine-learning tools to vet articles on the website and is hiring more people to take care of reports of misleading advertisements and pages. The most recent transparency measures, after the evaluation in Canada, will be set up in america prior to the midterm elections in November 2018.
Under the new measures, each political advertisement from the U.S. is going to have a tag labelled “about this political advertisement” which will link to more info about who paid for it and why the Facebook user could have seen it.
The measures aren’t restricted to political advertisements; any page running advertisements will have a “view advertisements” tab that anyone can click to see what that page is presently running. The tool could provide more info about who businesses are targeting at any particular time. Once advertisement campaigns are over, they won’t be viewable.
But, next summer Facebook will start developing an archive of advertisements associated with federal elections. The archive provides details on total and average amounts spent on these advertisements; how many times the ads were viewed; and the way they had been targeted — by age group, sex, and place, for example. Beginning in america only, the record will be searchable within a four-year interval.
On Friday, the company also provided more details about new requirements for political advertisers to confirm their identities with Facebook, which will begin with federal elections in america before expanding to other countries and areas. Advertisers might need to signal when they’re conducting election-related ads and include a “paid for by” disclosure.
“We remain deeply committed to helping protect the integrity of the electoral process on Facebook,” Mr. Goldman wrote.?