Facebook Increases Transparency With ‘Paid for by’ Label on Election Ads

Following Twitter’s lead, social site cracks down on political advertising

Facebook is aiming to make its massive ad business more transparent, announcing on Friday political advertisers will face an increased level of verification when running election-related campaigns.

Starting with U.S. federal elections, Facebook will add a “paid for by” tag to political ads, allowing users to click for more details on the advertiser. “Like other ads on Facebook, you will also be able to see an explanation of why you saw that particular ad,” said Facebook VP of Ads Rob Goldman in a post on the decision.

“We remain deeply committed to helping protect the integrity of the electoral process on Facebook,” continued Goldman. “And we will continue to work with our industry partners, lawmakers and our entire community to better ensure transparency and accountability in our advertising products.”

For advertisers that fail to comply with Facebook’s new rules, the social network will use artificial intelligence to verify details behind political campaigns. The update will roll out “starting next month,” with Facebook planning on extending it to countries outside the U.S. as well.

In a post on his personal page, CEO Mark Zuckerberg built on the company’s new policies, adding it wanted to complete its rollout ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Zuckerberg added the company is “adding thousands of people to our review teams,” to go along with its AI tools, to monitor ads.

“When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them,” said Zuckerberg in the post. “Now we’re bringing Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency.”

At the same time, Facebook is adding another layer of verification to its Pages, with users being able to click “View Ads” on a particular Page and see the ads its running.

Facebook’s move comes one day after Twitter banned advertisements from state-funded Russian outlets Sputnik and RT.

Company execs are expected to meet with congressional investigators next Tuesday — the same day it reports its third quarter earnings.