In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook last month announced that they would be extending their advanced disclosure requirements for political ads to all ‘issues ads’ – though at the time, they didn’t reveal what specific ‘issues’ those new regulations would cover.
Facebook initially announced their political ad transparency measures last October – the update, aimed to eliminate manipulative messaging, requires all political ads to be labeled, with clearly accessible information on who’s running each.
Axios has now reported the platform’s new issues list, with all ads relating to the following topics set to require the same level of increased transparency:
- Civil rights
- Foreign policy
- Government reform
- Social security
Those are some pretty broad content categories, and there’s likely still a bit more clarification required. For example, ‘health’ could cover a heap of things, as could ‘values’ – how Facebook defines each will be key to understanding the full impact of the new requirements and how they might impact your Facebook ad efforts.
Under the outline of the new process, Facebook advertisers looking to place political and issue ads within these categories would have to verify their identity and location, as well as disclose who paid for the ad. That’s likely not a problem for the vast majority, but it is another factor to take into account – so don’t be surprised if such requirements crop up in your Facebook ad approval process.
The added disclosure will make it harder for bad actors to infiltrate Facebook’s network with politically motivated ads, as there’ll be clearer indications of who’s running them, likely reducing their effectiveness. Of course, users still need to click through for the full information, which they tend to not do (many simply reacting to headlines), but still, it adds another way for Facebook to better safeguard against Cambridge Analytica-style manipulation, and for the public to get a clearer understanding of why such information is being presented.
Hopefully, Facebook will also invest in a broader education program to ensure users are aware of the new process.