Facebook outlines ad transparency efforts before Russia hearings

Facebook plans to pull back the curtain on political advertising amid pressure from U.S. lawmakers to do more to protect election integrity.

On Friday, the tech firm provided more details about how it will increase transparency around advertising on the social network.

Both Facebook and Twitter outlined changes to its advertising rules this week, days before their company’s lawyers are scheduled to testify before lawmakers about how Russia might have used their services to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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While Russia has denied the allegations, Silicon Valley tech firms are facing the possibility of more government regulation around political advertising. Now they’re showing lawmakers how they’re taking concerns about election integrity seriously.

“Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups,” wrote Rob Goldman, Facebook’s VP of Ads in a blog post

Facebook said it’s starting to build an archive of federal-election related ads, which will include information about how much advertisers are spending, the number of impressions and its target audience.

The company said advertisers may have to disclose that they’re running an election ad and verify their identity and location.

Users will also be able to see if they’re part of the targeted audience that advertisers are trying to reach and who paid for an election ad.

On Nov. 1, lawyers from Facebook, Google and Twitter are scheduled to testify before Senate and House Intelligence committee hearings about Russia-linked accounts and ads.

This month, Facebook turned over more than 3,000 ads with ties to a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency to congressional investigators looking into whether the country meddled in the U.S. presidential election.

Photo Credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images


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