Facebook tightens the rules on political ads ahead of the EU vote

BRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc toughened its rules on political advertising in Europe on Friday under pressure from the regulators in the EU to do more to protect you against foreign interference in the block in the coming legislative elections. Chastened because Russia used the social media platform to influence polls that swept the US President Donald Trump with the power, Facebook says that it is plowed and human resources in the protection of the vote in the 27 EU countries on 26 May.

FILE PHOTO: 3D printed Facebook-logo is placed on broken glass above a printed EU flag in this image is 28 January 2019. REUTERS/dado Ruvic/Image/File Photo

“I don’t want anyone in doubt that this is a top priority for the company,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president for global policy solutions, told reporters via a video link to Brussels.

All these ads will be labeled as “paid”, the provision of information on who bought it, for how much and how many people have seen broken down by age, location, and gender.

Only advertisers located and qualified in a particular country will be able to run political ads, or issue ads, the mirroring of policies elsewhere where the tools are rolled out.

Ads will also be archived for seven years in a publicly searchable archive.

Facebook blocks ads that do not meet from mid-April.

Despite requests from the overarching political groups of the European Parliament and the EU executive to allow for one-stop-shop pan-European advertising, Facebook said the risks were too high and the timeline too short to do.

“The convenience … we understand why she wants to, but we could not find a way to cut that without creating chances are no one would want to see,” Allan said.

Do this at the polls in each of the 27 member states of the EU are governed by the local rules for the elections, he said, would do little for supervisors in the event of a breach of the law.

The ad transparency of the rules that are already in the United States, great Britain, Brazil, India, Israel and Ukraine will be rolled out worldwide by the end of June, the company said.

Problem categories differ from country to country. In Europe, they will be: political values, immigration, security and foreign policy, civil and social rights, the environment, politics and the economy.

In the update, Facebook said it is adding new features and information in the ad repository, the Ad Library, and the expansion of the access to the database, so that researchers can perform more in-depth analysis of the data.

Other efforts of the company to ensure the vote in the 350 million adults can vote with independent fact-checkers to combat misinformation and a cyber security team to foil the bad actors and fake accounts.

As the polls approach, the heads of the EU is once again sounded the alarm at a summit last week, urging private operators, such as online platforms and social networks to “ensure higher standards of accountability and transparency.”

“The past years there has been enormous progress in awareness of the problem,” said a senior diplomat from a member state of the EU in the former Soviet bloc, whose government was among those pushing Brussels to pay more attention to the threat. “Now it is becoming a central part of EU-thinking … to the address of the fragilities that our democratic systems can have.”

Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Katie Paul; Additional reporting Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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