Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter yesterday announced their plans “to increase transparency of political campaign ads, changes aimed at preventing foreign manipulation of the coming midterm elections,” reports The New York Times. Facebook will introduce a ‘paid for’ label that takes users “to a page where they can view the cost of the ad and the demographic breakdown of the audience that viewed the ad.” Twitter will restrict political spots, “requiring those running political ads for federal elections to identity themselves and certify that they are in the United States.”
According to NYT, “Foreign nationals will not be able to target political ads to people in the United States, Twitter said.” The company “would also start giving prominent visual cues, including a badge and a disclaimer, to campaign ads.”
Facebook also plans to archive political ads for “seven years, or through a full congressional election cycle.”
Twitter accounts used for campaigning will be required to have a profile photo and a website with valid contact info. “Candidates and political committees will be required to provide their identification number from the Federal Election Commission,” explains NYT.
Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for spreading false information, especially during political races, with the additional concern that Russia used the platforms to manipulate the most recent U.S. presidential election. The new safeguards are part of larger strategies by the companies to combat such trends.
“When people are looking for news and information, they turn to Twitter to find out what’s happening in the world right now,” wrote Twitter senior public policy manager Bridget Coyne in a blog post. “This is especially true during elections.”