Facebook clamps down on political ads ahead of 2020 election

The social media company will impose stricter rules on political advertisers ahead of the 2020 election as part of its ongoing efforts to bolster ad transparency.

Facebook said on Wednesday that it will impose stricter rules on political advertisers ahead of the 2020 election as part of its ongoing efforts to bolster ad transparency. Starting mid-September, Facebook will require additional disclosures from advertisers before approving their "Paid for by" political ad disclaimer. 

For instance, organizations will be forced to provide either a Federal Election Commission ID number, tax-registered organization ID number, or government website domain matching an official email in order to have their ads displayed on Facebook or Instagram. 

Advertisers are currently required to supply their US street address, phone number, business email and business website as part of Facebook's existing ad rules.

Groups that fail to comply the new standards by mid-October will have their ads blocked, Facebook said.

Additionally, Facebook will update its list of acceptable social issues that advertisers must abide by when running issue ads. The update will bring the US list more in line with issue lists in countries that have recently held elections. 

The clamp down on advertisers is part of Facebook's continued efforts to rebuild user trust damaged by the Cambridge Analytica scandal and ease fears that the platform had become a tool for spreading Russian propaganda during the 2016 US presidential election.

"While our efforts to protect elections are ongoing and won't be perfect, they will make it harder for advertisers to obscure who is behind ads and will provide greater transparency for people," wrote Katie Harbath, Facebook's Public Policy Director for Global Electionsin a blog post. "We'll continue to share updates as we take steps to protect people ahead of the 2020 US election and beyond." 


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