Zuckerberg vows to make Facebook political advertising more transparent
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday that he plans to make bring the company’s advertising tools to a “higher standard of transparency.”
“When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them. But you still don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else,” Zuckerberg said during a live stream on the social platform Thursday.
“Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook,” Zuckerberg continued, noting that the new feature will be rolled out within the next several months.
Zuckerberg’s commitment to transparency comes amid a set of updates at Facebook, stemming from controversy over Russian actors potentially using the platform to interfere in the U.S. election.
The company revealed earlier in the month that Russian actors potentially linked to Kremlin allies had purchased $100,000 worth of political advertisements on the social media site.
The Facebook CEO also announced other measures the company would be taking to prevent foreign actors from using its platform to potentially influence political elections, including strengthening its review process for political ads, increasing its election security staff and sharing information with other social media companies.
Zuckerberg argued though that it would “not be realistic” to expect to be able to stop all interference on Facebook.
“There will always be bad actors in the world. And we can’t prevent all governments from interference. But we can make it harder.”
Facebook previously briefed members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on some its findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election on the platform.
Lawmakers, such as Senate Intelligence’s top Democrat Mark Warner (Va.) and House Intelligence’s top Democrat Adam Schiff (Calif.), however, criticized the company for not sharing enough information.
Bending to the pressure, Facebook announced Thursday that it will share all 3,000 of the political ads purchased by Russian actors with Congressional investigators.
Prior to Zuckerberg’s transparency announcement, Warner had advocated for legislation or regulations that would force social media companies such as Facebook to disclose who is paying for political ads on the platform. Other Democrats in the House and Senate joined Warner in his calls for more transparency of campaign ads on social media platforms.
“The recent revelations that foreign nationals with suspected ties to the Russian government sought to influence the 2016 election through social media advertisements are deeply concerning and demand a response,” 20 House and Senate Democrats wrote in a letter to the Federal Election Commission.