Facebook will put all political ads on its platform in India in a searchable online library starting next month. This library will contain contact information of the ad buyers and their official regulatory certificates, which have to match their government-issued documents, reports Reuters.
MediaNama has reached out to Facebook for more details, and will update this when we hear from them.
According to the report, Facebook announced this as part of its efforts to curb election interference in several countries going into polls in the coming months. Mint further reported that Facebook will focus on removing fake accounts and news, increasing ad transparency and monitoring online abuse, but does not specify how Facebook is planning to do this.
The Reuters report added that the library will be similar to the ad archives in the US, Brazil and Britain last year. The political ads archive was introduced in the US last year: all political ads have “paid for by” labels, which leads to the searchable archive, which notably is not backdated. The archive displays an ad’s budget, the number of people who saw it, and anonymized data on age, gender and location of the viewers.
Its worth noting that even when an ad buyer is disclosed on Facebook’s library, the advertiser can still be a shell company or cover organization for the actual buyer, per Quartz.
Google and Twitter have similar archives in the US
Twitter and Google have similar ads archives in the US. Google introduced it in the US last year: anybody could search for political ads (but not issue ads) issued out of the US. The archive enabled users to view ads by candidate names advertisers, money spent, timeline of the ads, impressions and type of ad. Twitter’s Ads Transparency Center will let users in the US search for who the ad buyers are, billing information, ad spends, impression data and demographic targeting data.
Facebook’s offline verification of advertisers in India
In December, Facebook began to verify the location and identity of an advertiser or page admin who wanted to run political ads. Facebook refused to give further details on the process.
- The advertiser is required to provide more details about who placed the ad, although Facebook did not specify what exactly the details would be.
- ‘Political ads’ include those with reference to political figures, political parties, elections and legislation. “We want to give advertisers time to go through this process before we require it,” the company said in a statement.