Facebook has started rolling out transparency tools globally for advertisers wanting to place ads about social issues, elections or politics, the social media giant announced on Tuesday. “We believe that transparency leads to increased accountability and responsibility over time – not just for Facebook but advertisers as well,” wrote Sarah Schiff, Product Manager, in a blog post. “It’s why we continue to introduce tools that allow elected officials, those seeking office, and organizations aiming to influence public opinion to show more information about the ads they run and who’s behind them.” As part of the authorization process for advertisers, Facebook confirms their ID; the ad and “Paid for by” disclaimer will be placed in the Ad Library for seven years.

“Elections are happening all over the world and some happen with very little notice,” wrote Schiff. “We are committed to requiring authorizations and disclaimers for social issue, electoral or political ads in more places.”

Facebook already requires advertisers to get authorized and add disclaimers to these ads in over 50 countries and territories; proactive enforcement on these ads is being expanded to countries where elections or regulations are approaching, starting with Ukraine, Singapore, Canada and Argentina. Facebook plans to systematically detect and review ads in Ukraine and Canada through a combination of automated and human review. In Singapore and Argentina, enforcement will begin within the next few months.

In all cases, it will be up to the advertiser to comply with any applicable electoral or advertising laws and regulations in the countries they want to run ads in, said Schiff, adding, “If we are made aware of an ad that is in violation of a law, we will act quickly to remove it. With these tools, regulators are now better positioned to consider how to protect elections with sensible regulations, which they are uniquely suited to do.”


Lynn Leahey