Facebook introduces transparency features for political ads in Brazil

The country is the second after the US to implement the tools; the changes will be introduced ahead of the general elections in October.
Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Writer

Facebook is introducing "transparency tools" in Brazil as part of efforts to make political propaganda more obvious to users.

Brazil is the second country after the United States where the changes will be introduced, due to October's general elections.

Under the new rules, as of August 16 election - focused ads on Facebook and Instagram will display a "paid for by" label showing who or which group purchased the ad.

When clicking on the label, users will be able to get more details such as campaign budgets associated to any given ad, how many people viewed it and their demographic information, as well as an archive of all the campaigns run by the politician or party in question.

In order to register to run paid political content, advertisers will need to undergo a process that will require them to turn on two-factor authentication, submit documents, confirm they are located in Brazil and fulfill disclosure requirements.

Politicians or political parties running paid adverts on the Facebook platforms without using the label will be subject to the scrutiny of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).

The Court has been working with Facebook, as well as Google and Twitter as part of its efforts to reduce fake news ahead of the elections.

According to Facebook, a memorandum of understanding has been signed this month with the TSE, whereby the social networking firm commits to "tackle misinformation and support projects that foster digital education".

The company also pointed out that it is financing some independent initiatives to help people make more informed decisions around content consumption, in addition to a fact-checking program.

Facebook also cited some new features around civic engagement introduced in Brazil as part of the transparency push, including a Themes tab on Pages, with content around politician's views on various themes such as education and the economy.

An Informed Voter button which will redirect people to pages run by authorities to get information on voting, as well as prompts on Election Day to remind users to vote.

Facebook's procedures around increasing transparency in political propaganda were first introduced in the US in May. The changes came in response to the scrutiny that Facebook and other tech companies faced after their platforms were allegedly used by Russian trolls attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

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