Facebook Postpones Political Ad Transparency Drive

FTC Facebook privacy investigation

LONDON – Facebook has delayed the compulsory introduction of its plans to increase the transparency of political adverts on its network. The decision follows the discovery of people abusing the system.

As reported previously by TMO, the new system, which publically attributes political ads to the people paying for them, were meant to become compulsory on Wednesday. However, The Guardian revealed that the introduction has been postponed. The decision follows revelations on various failures of the system.

FTC Facebook privacy investigation
Facebooks new drive for advertising transparency has been postponed

ISIS…buying Facebook ads?

These included Vice successfully placing adverts that they pretended were being paid for by every single US Senator, Vice President Mike Pence and even Islamic State. ProPublica also revealed that one advert was attributed to a company that did not exist but was a front for a lobbying effort from big energy firms.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Business Insider posed as controversial, and disbanded, firm Cambridge Analytica and successfully passed the verification process.

Gaming the system

Facebook told the Guardian: “We have learnt that some people may try to game the disclaimer system by entering inaccurate details and have been working to improve our review process to detect and prevent this kind of abuse.”

The social media giant added that it would introduce the system “once we have strengthened our process for ensuring the accuracy of disclaimers”.

Last month, TMO outlined the details of the new system that was coming to the UK. Political advertisers in the UK would have to pass a verification stage and adverts would have to include a paid for disclaimer. I have seen a couple of such ads appearing in my own Facebook feed. It is going to be a while yet before it is mandatory though.

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