September 27, 2020

Facebook activates transparency tools for political announcements in Spain and Europe | Innovation

Facebook activates transparency tools for political announcements in Spain and Europe | Innovation

The electoral transparency tools of Facebook, announced in January to guarantee the legitimacy of political announcements in the social network, will be activated this Friday, also in Spain, ahead of the elections to the European Parliament and the rest of the elections to be held in the member countries.

At the end of January, Facebook announced the development of new tools to prevent foreign interference and improve transparency in the social network before the elections to the European Parliament, which will be held on May 26.

Richard Allan, VP Global Policy Solutions, and Rob Leathern, Business Integrity Product Management, have confirmed before a small group of journalists the activation of these tools also in Spain, which is preparing for the General Elections, next April 28.

"These tools are designed to limit abuse with political announcements," Allan said. For this, the Facebok team will ensure that only those European advertisers registered on its platform can distribute political announcements and important topics for social debate.

For this registration, the company will create a list of political parties and candidates, in collaboration with the relevant electoral authorities, which will later cross-check the profiles and pages of the social network to ensure that the politicians' accounts are legitimate.

Candidates and parties must also confirm their identity and provide additional information about the organization behind their ad campaign. This process will end in mid-April. Once the date is completed, the company will begin to block the ads of those accounts and pages that have not been verified or that have not passed the registration process correctly.

The information provided can be consulted in all ads with political content through the 'Paid for' tab, which will redirect to another transparency tool announced by Facebook, Ad Library. This file with the ads that users see, both on Facebook and on Instagram, shows information on performance, the target audience and the advertisers who fund them.

These are announcements of elected representatives, candidates for public office and on issues of national importance in the countries where they appear, and will remain stored in the Ad Library for seven years.

Allan has highlighted the joint work of Facebook and the electoral authorities. The new tools "will help the relevant authorities to investigate if they have any suspicion", for example, to discern if the financing rules have been followed in the electoral campaigns.

Likewise, Allan has acknowledged that the changes introduced in the platform "will not prevent the abuse of the whole", but he has defended that "they will help prevent future interference in the elections".


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