Technology

Twitter unveils ad transparency tools ahead of EU elections

Twitter announced Tuesday it will launch tools in the European Union (EU) aimed at promoting transparency around who pays for political ads on its platform and how those ads are promoted on users' feeds.

The social media giant said in a blog post that it will extend the strategies it used during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections to the EU, as well as to India and Australia ahead of elections in both of those countries.

The move comes shortly after the the European Commission called on tech giants to step up their efforts in combatting fake news ahead of the European parliamentary elections in May.

Twitter will now require political advertisers to go through a certification process before they are allowed to promote ads on the platform, and the social media company will offer users the option to explore details about the groups behind such ads.

The company said it will begin enforcing the new policies in the EU, India and Australia starting March 11.

"Only certified advertisers will be allowed to run political campaigning ads on our service [at that time]," Twitter wrote in the blog post. "Political advertisers must apply now for certification and go through the every step of the process."

The tools will allow users to browse the billing information, demographic targeting and ad spending details behind each political advertisement.

It will also require political advertisers to prove that they are not a foreign entity seeking to interfere in regional elections.

The tools were launched in the U.S. last year after Twitter was accused of not doing enough to remove disinformation from its platform during the 2016 presidential election. Twitter has said that Russia interfered ahead of the presidential elections, with Russian bots creating hundreds of accounts to sow discord during a tumultuous election cycle. 

Facebook last month also unveiled new plans for preventing the spread of misinformation ahead of elections in multiple regions, including the EU and Ukraine. Those tools compile data about the groups behind political advertisements and require a more thorough authorization process to ensure they are not foreign entities seeking to sway elections. 

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