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Facebook forces admins of popular pages to share location info

FILE – In this April 18, 2017, file photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, California. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) (Noah Berger)

(Noah Berger)

Facebook is rolling out a new requirement for people who manage pages with a large following in the US: They will soon have to confirm their locations.

The new verification requirement is designed to help the company root out scammers and Russian agents who abuse Facebook pages to influence the public. “Our goal is to prevent organizations and individuals from creating accounts that mislead people about who they are or what they do,” the company said in a post on Friday.

The new requirement forces the Facebook page administrators to turn on location-tracking. They also have their accounts with two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of login protection against hacking. “As a Page manager authorizes and then turns off the location, they would need to turn on location services again to place on the Page,” a Facebook spokeswoman told PCMag.

The company is not elaborating on what a page with a large following, but for a good reason. “We are not sharing exact numbers (of followers required), if bad actors can use it to game the system,” the spokeswoman added.

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The tech giant originally announced the new authentication measure back in April amid ongoing concerns that foreign governments will try to exploit Facebook to interfere in the next US presidential election. In February, federal investigators charged 13 Russian nationals for conspiring to buy political ads on social media to influence the American public in 2016 during the presidential race. In response, Facebook has its own political ad buyers to first verify their identity and location with the company.

Facebook said that the new verification process for pages, that starts with the rollout of today, will take a few minutes to complete.” However, page administrators who refuse to comply will no longer be able to post on their pages.

“In the area of enforcement, any notice to the Page manager, click a date that they need to authorize by,” the Facebook spokeswoman said. “As a Page manager, are not authorized by the enforcement as of the date of their notification, they will not be able to post.”

The company is also adjusting the way pages with a large AMERICAN audience appear on the platform. They now carry a new section that you show the public in which countries the page is managed. “We think that knowing the country in which the Page is managed can help people to get better insight on the content of that Page. For example, it may be useful to know when a Page is advocating for a political cause with respect to a particular area is managed from that country or not,” Facebook told PCMag.

In the coming weeks, the Facebook-owned Instagram will also be the introduction of features which allow people to more information about accounts with a large audience.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.

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