Facebook to require verification for political ads

Facebook to require verification for political ads
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Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced on Friday that it would start verifying advertisers who seek to run political ads on its platform.

All users who manage large pages, political or not, must also be verified. 

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“This will make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way,” Zuckerberg explained.

The Facebook CEO said his company would hire more people to make sure verifications were completed before the 2018 midterm elections.

Fake accounts were used during the 2016 presidential campaign to run political pages that garnered hundreds of thousands of followers and spread misinformation through posts and political ads.

Facebook disclosed last year that the Kremlin-linked troll group, the Internet Research Agency, purchase $100,000 in political advertisements on its platform and created fake accounts that ran pages like “Heart of Texas” and “BlackmattersUS” which they used to incite social divisions.

In one instance, BlackmattersUS created an event in New York City protesting Trump’s election which thousands of people attended. The Internet Research Agency used other groups to create Facebook events protests and counterprotests to spur conflict.

Rob Goldman, Facebook vice president of ads, and Alex Himel, vice president of local and pages, explained in a separate post that "advertisers will be prohibited from running political ads — electoral or issue-based — until they are authorized."

"In addition, these ads will be clearly labeled in the top left-hand corner as 'Political Ad'. Next to it we will show 'paid for by' information. We started testing the authorization process this week, and people will begin seeing the label and additional information in the US later this spring," they wrote. 

Additionally, individuals managing large pages who do not clear the new verification process will no longer be able to post from their pages, the two said.