Facebook’s Answer to Fake Russian Ads: Address Verification by Postcard

Election-focused ads will need to confirm U.S. location via postcard

The USPS just received a little boost, thanks to Facebook.

The social network is going old school to combat fake advertisements, with Facebook planning on sending postcards to verify the U.S. location of users who want to advertise for the upcoming midterm elections.

According to Reuters, each postcard will have a specific code tied to certain candidates running for federal office. However, these mailers won’t be sent for issue-based political ads.

Facebook’s decision comes after the company has been criticized for moving slowly to combat the spread of disinformation during the 2016 election. On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment showed the disinformation campaign started in 2014, with Kremlin-tied Russian agents using fake identities to set up Facebook pages like “Secured Borders” and “Army of Jesus” to reach users. Russian trolls leveraged the platform to hit 126 million Americans with fake content, Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, told Congress last fall.

After Stretch’s testimony, CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed that he and the company were “dead serious” about curbing the issue. The postcard maneuver follows the company’s other new measures, including adding a “paid for by” tag on election ads to give users background info on who is funding the content.

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