Facebook Announces Ads Will Be ‘More Transparent’

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has made another announcement that will be considered too late in some quarters. It will vet some advertisers to see who the ads are coming from, to partially use the social media company’s language. The action may uncover marketers who have political motivation at the heart of their messages.

In an announcement posted in Facebook’s Rob Goldman, VP, Ads, and Alex Himel, VP, Local & Pages:

In Canada, we’ve been testing a new feature called view ads that lets you see the ads a Page is running — even if they are not in your News Feed. This applies to all advertiser Pages on Facebook — not just Pages running political ads. We plan to launch view ads globally in June.

In June we also plan to release a public, searchable political ads archive. This will contain all ads with the “Political Ad” label, and will show the image and text, as well as additional information like the amount spent and demographic audience information for each ad.

Today, we’re also announcing that people who manage Pages with large numbers of followers will need to be verified. Those who manage large Pages that do not clear the process will no longer be able to post. This will make it much harder for people to administer a Page using a fake account, which is strictly against our policies. We will also show you additional context about Pages to effectively assess their content. For example, you can see whether a Page has changed its name.

We know we were slow to pick-up foreign interference in the 2016 US elections. Today’s updates are designed to prevent future abuse in elections — and to help ensure you have the information that you need to assess political and issue ads, as well as content on Pages. By increasing transparency around ads and Pages on Facebook, we can increase accountability for advertisers — improving our service for everyone.

These plans will not stop the grilling Facebook management will receive in front of Congress and likely other government authorities in Europe. They are also unlikely to block plans that will regulate Facebook ad content. The plans will not prevent some users and advertisers from dropping Facebook either. Otherwise, they are a good idea.