Facebook starts verification for UK political ads

UK advertisers seeking to run political ads on Facebook Inc must now confirm their identity, location and reveal who paid for the ad, the social network said on Thursday.

It faces increasing scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Starting Thursday, ads related to politics will be housed in an “Ad Library” for seven years and advertisers will be prevented from running a political ad if they aren’t authorised, Facebook Director of Product Management, Rob Leathern, said in a blog post.

Britain’s parliament had called for tech firms to be made liable for disseminating misleading political information.

They will be liable for targeting citizens using data manipulation, in the wake of major political events such as Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

Facebook is being investigated by lawmakers in Britain after consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, obtained personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher.

The social media company said it would, however, exempt select UK news organizations from housing their content in Facebook’s Ad Library.

The exemption will be expanded in the United States next year, it said.

The exemption is a partial reversal to Facebook’s earlier decision to include ads in its Ad Library from news organizations mentioning political figures, elections or issues of national importance.

A group of news publishers had written a letter in June to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, protesting the social network’s inclusion of news content in its new policies meant for labellin1 and archiving all political ads. (Reuters/NAN)
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