Facebook rolls out stricter political ad rules ahead of 2020

Article Image

Facebook announced Wednesday it is imposing stricter disclosure and transparency standards on...

Posted: Aug 29, 2019 10:35 AM

Facebook announced Wednesday it is imposing stricter disclosure and transparency standards on political ads in the United States after, the social networking platform said, it caught some advertisers trying to game the system by misleading users about who was funding the ads.

But the tighter rules still leave some holes that could be easily exploited.

Under the new system there are two ways for groups or individuals to verify their identity: A stricter method under which advertisers Facebook has verified will receive a special "Confirmed Organization" label on their ads, and a second method indicating less confidence in the advertiser's identity.

To obtain a "Confirmed Organization" label, advertisers will need to provide a US address, phone number, business email, business website and one of the following: a tax-registered organization identification number, a government website domain that matches an email ending in .gov or .mil, or a Federal Election Commission identification number.

Advertisers who don't have or don't want to submit such credentials will be able to alternatively submit some basic information about their organization like addresses, emails and website, or rely solely on the page administrator's legal name, though the organization will be ineligible to use a registered organization name in their disclaimers or to receive a "Confirmed Organization" label.

The new policies are aimed at curbing political advertisers' attempts to mask their identities or impersonate others. In some cases, Facebook told CNN Business, it saw advertisers identifying themselves merely as "concerned citizen" instead of using their organization's name or registered ID.

Last year, Vice News reported that it was able to take out ads in the name of Vice President Mike Pence, all 100 US senators and the Islamic State. In another high-profile instance from 2018, an attack ad targeting Virginia Democratic candidate for Congress Jennifer Wexton was shown by Facebook to have been paid for by a "freedom loving American Citizen exercising my natural law right, protected by the 1st Amendment and protected by the 2nd Amendment."

Facebook said in a blog post that the policy change is aimed at giving users more information about who may be trying to influence them online.

"While the authorization process won't be perfect, it will help us confirm the legitimacy of an organization and provide people with more details about who's behind the ads they are seeing," Facebook public policy director Katie Harbath and product manager Sarah Schiff wrote. "There are a number of cases where advertisers have attempted to put misleading 'Paid for by' disclaimers on their ads."

But it's not clear whether the new rules would prevent a group or person from simply registering as a company, getting a tax identification number and going forward with their advertisements without ever having to really tell Facebook users who they truly are and what their motivation is. In response to questions about the potential loopholes, Facebook told CNN Business the additional information will be vetted by a mix of automated and human reviewers and that it is working with governments and watchdogs to bolster election security.

Facebook has long battled critics who say the platform has created an environment where nefarious foreign actors can attempt to influence US elections. After the 2016 election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to fix how the company handles political and issue ads. Those efforts have hit some bumps along the way. The company also formed a civil rights task force to address the threat of meddling in the 2020 US elections and the US Census.

The new rules will be put into effect in mid-September, and if an advertiser doesn't provide the new information by mid-October, Facebook said, it will pause an organization's ads.

Terre Haute
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 80°
Robinson
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 76°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 80°
Rockville
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Casey
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 80°
Brazil
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 80°
Marshall
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 80°
July Heat Continues
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 144013

Reported Deaths: 6951
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook909114581
Lake9752418
DuPage9083472
Kane7733271
Will6744320
Winnebago304695
McHenry206197
St. Clair1906136
Kankakee128565
Kendall96320
Madison94769
Rock Island94729
Champaign88012
Boone59521
DeKalb55818
Peoria49928
Sangamon43132
Jackson33219
Randolph2877
Stephenson2745
McLean26113
Ogle2614
Clinton23717
Macon23122
LaSalle21917
Union19119
Whiteside19115
Coles17017
Grundy1674
Iroquois1575
Warren1380
Tazewell1378
Knox1320
Cass1302
Morgan1283
Monroe12713
Williamson1204
Jefferson10717
McDonough10115
Lee972
Adams931
Henry881
Pulaski760
Marion660
Vermilion662
Perry541
Douglas520
Macoupin523
Unassigned500
Jasper467
Livingston452
Jo Daviess441
Montgomery441
Christian434
Jersey351
Ford331
Woodford332
Bureau292
Menard250
Fayette233
Alexander220
Franklin220
Mason220
Wabash220
Carroll212
Johnson200
Mercer200
Piatt200
Washington200
Hancock191
Crawford180
Moultrie180
Shelby181
Fulton150
Logan150
Clark140
Wayne141
Bond131
Massac130
Schuyler130
Cumberland120
Effingham121
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
Marshall80
Lawrence70
De Witt60
Hamilton50
White50
Richland40
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Pike20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Out of IL10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 45952

Reported Deaths: 2650
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11387679
Lake4872240
Elkhart308543
Allen2677114
St. Joseph184965
Cass16369
Hamilton1484100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1235118
Porter68537
Madison64363
Tippecanoe6408
Clark62244
Bartholomew57844
Howard54356
LaPorte53925
Kosciusko4952
LaGrange4596
Jackson4553
Noble44728
Vanderburgh4306
Hancock42935
Delaware42648
Boone42242
Shelby41625
Marshall4123
Floyd36344
Morgan32031
Montgomery28720
Grant28526
Clinton2792
Dubois2606
White25810
Monroe25628
Decatur24632
Henry23515
Lawrence23124
Vigo2248
Harrison20822
Dearborn20422
Warrick20129
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16911
Putnam1658
DeKalb1594
Scott1547
Daviess13916
Orange13323
Wayne1286
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1209
Ripley1127
Carroll1092
Jasper1092
Wabash1072
Fayette967
Newton9510
Whitley814
Randolph764
Starke733
Huntington702
Wells681
Jay670
Fulton661
Jefferson651
Washington641
Pulaski631
Knox620
Clay594
Rush573
Benton480
Adams451
Owen451
Gibson442
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey350
Spencer311
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain292
Switzerland250
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike80
Unassigned0194