Facebook Set To Impose Stricter Rules On Political Ads In Nations With Major Elections


Facebook, the social media giant, has announced that it is set to tighten the existing rules on political advertising in all countries that are scheduled to have major elections this year. It comes after the scrutiny that us surrounding the ads on its platform during previous events.

On Wednesday, the company said that it is set to also expand some of its tools for restricting election inference, with the European Union, Ukraine, India, and Nigeria, first on the list.

Facebook has been under intense scrutiny by politicians and regulators after it was revealed that advertisements on its site had become an avenue for distributing fake news and other propaganda during the US presidential elections and the 2016 EU referendum.

In an interview with Reuter, Rob Leathern, the director of product management of Facebook,  said that the social media giant knows it that would not “be perfect, but our goal is continuing, ongoing improvement.”

As of today in Nigeria, only the advertisers that are located in the country will be able to run electoral ads. This is similar to an approach that was tested by Facebook during the referendum on abortion in Ireland last May. The same policy is scheduled to take effect in Ukraine in February.

In India, Facebook is scheduled to test the placement of electoral ads in a searchable online library starting next month. The ads will be held in the library for a period of seven years. It will be used as a tool to battle interference. Similar libraries have been utilised by Facebook in Brazil, the UK, and the US.

Leathern said that the EU will receive a version of transparency and authorisation and system, which will only allow individuals to purchase ads if they pass an identity check on government-issued documents, before the parliamentary elections of the bloc in May.

The ad-hoc approach to different countries is the outcome of a rush to be ready in time for early elections. A more global solution is assured in June.