Facebook is rolling out protections for political ads by the end of June 2019, ahead of upcoming elections.
In a January 16th, 2019 Facebook blog post, the social media giant said protections will be particularly rolling out first in Nigeria, Ukraine, India and the EU. It noted that by the end of June, these protections will roll out globally and in Canada, right before the country’s next federal election.
Right now as part of its tools, Facebook said political advertisers must confirm their identity and location before they can run ads, and their ads are housed in a “public, searchable Ad Library for up to seven years.”
But the post notes that in June “we’ll provide a set of these tools for advertisers around the world,” with no further detail.
“As we prepare for major elections around the world this year, we’re continuing our focus on preventing foreign interference and giving people more information about the ads they see across our platforms.”
The Cambridge Analytica scandal involves the firm that helped U.S. President Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election campaign by harvesting data from millions of Facebook users.
In Canada, 60,000 people were affected by the scandal. More recently the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) concluded its study on Cambridge Analytica and produced recommendations for how Facebook should be involved during elections as well as how the Privacy Commissioner’s office can deal with social media.
“By shining a light on political ads, news organizations, regulators, watchdog groups and people anywhere in the world can hold advertisers and us more accountable,” Facebook said.
Facebook’s head of public policy, Kevin Chan, has been questioned multiple times by the government on the company’s involvement with fixing elections meddling.
“As we prepare for major elections here in Canada and around the world, we’re continuing our focus on preventing foreign interference and giving people more information about the ads they see across our platforms,” Chan said in a statement to MobileSyrup. “Before the end of June, advertisers globally will have access to additional political ads transparency tools. These tools help ensure that authenticity and transparency are at the core of paid political advertising on Facebook.”
In December 2018, the government House Bill C-76, which received Royal Assent on December 13th, 2018, provides rules and regulations on the use of social media during an election campaign.