Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated when Facebook started labeling political ads and how many countries have the tools.
LOS ANGELES — Facebook announced Monday it will begin rolling out tools for electoral and social issue ads in Canada and Ukraine, to be more transparent about the political nature of such ads. The social network plans to bring the transparency tools to Singapore and Argentina in the next few months.
The tools require advertisers to be authorized by the social media platform and disclose who paid for the ad. This information, along with analytics about who saw the ad, will be available in Facebook’s Ad Library Report for seven years. Pages that were already authorized before requirements were put in place do not have to be reauthorized with the expansion, and there are no changes to the authorization process in countries where these tools were previously available.
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The social media platform has required advertisers to be authorized in the U.S. since May 2018, after it found 3,000 ads between 2015 and 2017 that were paid for by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian entity, and were advertised by inauthentic accounts. Facebook began labeling ads as “political” and showed viewers disclaimers about who paid for the ad. However, while the company says most advertisers identify the sponsors truthfully, Facebook does not verify this information unless it is reported to be false.
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The tools have expanded to 190 countries and are available to use in countries where Facebook does not require authorization. According to the press release, Facebook will not oversee if the advertisements comply with local electoral advertising laws, but will investigate and take down advertisements that are reported to be illegal.
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