For British users of the social media service Facebook, the political advertisements that appear on the site will now include the names of the political groups and organizations that paid for the online advertising, reports Business Insider.
Beginning on Tuesday, Facebook will remove any type of secrecy from the advertisements you receive and make it clear which party is trying to sway your opinion, be it the Conservatives, Labour, or one of the United Kingdom’s more niche political groupings.
Along with applying this standard to all forthcoming advertisements, the social media giant will also be releasing its library of previously posted political commercials showing who has paid for each political advertisement on Facebook as well as Instagram, along with the amount of money spent on the campaign and what demographics it intended to target. No matter how small the reach of the advertisement, Facebook will include all of its relevant information.
Political ads that will henceforth appear in newsfeeds will be marked with a “paid for by” tag that will make clear who exactly paid for the advertisement.
Facebook determines political advertisement as any post that includes a reference to “political figures, parties, elections, and legislation or referenda that are in the news,” according to the Business Insider article. For British voters, that will likely include the deluge of posts regarding Brexit, the upcoming local elections, Conservative Party leader Theresa May, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the coming months.
Exclusive: Facebook execs months ago debated banning all political ads, which produce less than 5 percent of revenue. But product managers were loath to leave advertising dollars on the table, sources tell @Reuters https://t.co/fu7Wsqy1a2 pic.twitter.com/1eO2fDvfuX
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 15, 2018
In order to properly categorize the advertisements, Facebook will rely on its team of human moderators and machine learning, along with depending on its users to flag advertisements of a more subtle political nature.
While the amount of spending will be made clear by Facebook, the revelation of the targeting techniques may leave some disappointed. In particular, Facebook won’t be showing the “interests” that the ads target, which could potentially include more private user information such as race.
The political ad library will also include political articles written by British publications, although they will be categorized under a different tag.
In an effort to weed out “fake news” and divisive advertisements, Facebook will implement a verification process that will require potential advertisers to provide an official ID and a valid United Kingdom address where Facebook will then physically mail a verification code, which the advertiser will have to enter before they can go forward posting advertisements.
From Tuesday, a grace period will run until November 7, where political parties and organizations can identify as political advertisers. From that point, Facebook will automatically put the advertisements into their library, which will be a searchable archive of ads dating back seven years and will be available to both members and non-users of the social media service.