FB, Insta to have disclaimers for political ads

People will also be able to access a 'searchable ad library' to find out more about ads related to politics, including range of impressions, spends and demographics of who viewed the ad. (AFP Photo)

The political advertisements on Facebook and Instagram will now come with disclaimers that will make it clear to the users who have published or who has paid for them.

With the Lok Sabha elections in India just a few weeks away, the Facebook Inc. on Thursday has tightened the rules for political advertisements on both Facebook and Instagram.

Only people and entities who will complete the authorisation processes would be allowed to run political advertisements on the two social media platforms in India, only after disclosing who would be responsible for the content.

"We're committed to creating a new standard of transparency and authenticity for political advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Ahead of India's general elections, we're making big changes to ads that reference political figures, political parties, elections and ads that advocate for or against legislation," Facebook Inc's Public Policy Director (India and South Asia), Shivnath Thukral, and Product Manager, Sarah Clark Schiff, said in a statement on Thursday.

Google and Twitter had earlier introduced new measures to ensure transparency in political advertisements on their platforms.

Google's updated election advertisement policy for India now requires advertisers seeking to run poll ads to provide a "pre-certificate" issued by the Election Commission, or anyone authorised by the EC, for every advertisement they wish to run.

Google has also been verifying the identity of advertisers before their election advertisements run on its platforms. Twitter is set to provide a new dashboard showing expenditures by political parties on advertisements on its platform

Facebook and Instagram users would start seeing the country locations of the people managing pages that run the political advertisement to better understand the origin of the page.

The political advertisement running without a disclaimer in News Feed will be removed and placed in the Ads Library from February 21 next.

“Our systems won't catch every political ad that runs — so reports from others will be key. If people come across an ad and think it should include a disclaimer, they can tap the three dots at the top right-hand corner of the ad, and select Report Ad”, said Thukral and Schiff. “If we find the ad relates to politics, we'll remove it and add it to the Library, where it will be accessible for seven years.”

They said that they would make it harder for people to administer a page in India using a fake or compromised account. In the coming weeks, people who manage pages with a large audience in India will need to secure their account with a two-factor authentication and confirm their primary country location to be able to continue to post to their pages, added Thukral and Schiff.

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