Following Google and Facebook’s suit, Twitter is launching advertiser verification and an ‘Ads Transparency Center’ in India to increase election transparency around advertising. The policy will come into effect on March 11. Political advertisers have to verify themselves to run ads on Twitter.

  • Political parties have to submit their Election Commission registration certificate or founding documents of the party
  • Organisations have to submit an address proof and CIN number
  • Individuals/candidates have to submit a government-issued ID with address, and the nomination paper receipt.

After the policy comes into effect, only certified/verified advertisers will be allowed to run political ads on Twitter.

The Ads Transparency Center will log all ads run on Twitter in the past seven days. Political ads will include information such as billing, ad spend, and impression data per tweet. Twitter will also show demographic targeting data for ads being served, both the targeting intended by the advertisers, and what was actually delivered by Twitter.

Twitter is also adding disclosures by way of visual labels and disclaimer information on promoted content from verified accounts, “to easily identify political campaign ads and to know who paid for them.”

Google and FB for election transparency

In the recent months, Google and Facebook have announced verification of political advertisers and ads archives. Facebook’s ad library is expected to go live tomorrow, and would be backdated to December 2018.

Its worth noting that earlier this month, Twitter officials were summoned to a 31-member parliamentary committee on IT. This was just days after Twitter was accused of being biased against right-wing voices. The committee had refused to meet Twitter India officials, demanding that senior levels officials present themselves at the meeting. On February 12, the committee gave the company 15 days to present CEO Jack Dorsey.

Bombay HC petition against social media cos

In response to a petition in the Bombay HC, Facebook and Google yesterday submitted that they will make changes to their advertising policy ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Twitter is also a respondent in the petition, but has responded yet. It is worth noting that neither company has said anything that was previously unknown:

Facebook’s offline election verification process of political advertisers has been known since December. Facebook also began showing ‘Paid for by’ and ‘Published by’ disclaimers starting February 7.

Google announced its election transparency efforts, including the transparency report, pre-certificate requirements, and advertiser verification, last month. However, it is unclear if these guidelines apply to other Google sites like YouTube as well, or only for Google.

Note that although both companies have assured compliance with the 48-hour silent period prior to the elections (see Facebook and Google), neither has specified how they will do it.

Also read:

Twitter explains its ‘impartiality’; Officials to not attend IT committee meeting

Facebook, Google, Twitter to assist ECI in keeping polls clean: report