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Facebook urged to be more transparent about political advertising on the platform

World News Publishing Focus

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Facebook urged to be more transparent about political advertising on the platform

Following Facebook’s disclosure that Russia-linked advertising that sought to influence the US presidential elections were bought on the platform, there are increasing calls for stricter regulations for political online advertising on social media.

The issue concerns especially so-called dark post ads on Facebook, which are visible to only those being targeted and thus undetectable to anyone montoring political advertising. Meanwhile, in the US TV and radio stations are required to share specific information about their political advertising. BuzzFeed spoke to several transparency experts who warned that dark post ads undermine transparency into parties that aim to influence politics.

Furthermore, Russian operatives could have avoided detection by using Facebook’s self-service ad buying tool, which is designed to make ad purchasing as simple as possible, and doesn’t require an ad agency or direct connection to a Facebook representative, Digiday reported.

In order to shine a light on political advertising on Facebook, ProPublica launched a browser plugin that collects information on political ads on the platform. The tool collects the ads its users see on Facebook and submits them to a public database for further analysis.

To start with ProPublica will focus on advertising related to German parliamentary elections, but eventually the collected data will be used to monitor other elections as well.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2017-09-08 12:14

Author information

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