Facebook tightens political ads rules ahead of EU vote

Political advertisers will have to undergo checks and ads will be labeled with disclosures on who paid for them

On Thursday, Facebook unveiled new tools designed to counter foreign interference in the run-up to the vote to elect new members of the EU Parliament and increase transparency around political advertising across Europe in general.

Under the new rules any individual, party, or organisation that wants to use the platform for political campaigning will have to be registered in the country where they will be shown. The move means that an EP advertisement urging people to register to vote cannot be posted online across the EU unless there is a registered person in every country.

Facebook will also require all EU political ads on Facebook and Instagram to be clearly labelled, including a ‘Paid for by’ tag at the top of the ad. This will provide users with information regarding who is paying for an ad and, if it’s a business or organisation, their contact details. Furthermore, there will be information about campaign budget associated with the ad, as well as how many people have seen it and their age, location, and gender.

As Facebook states, it will start blocking ads that fail to comply with the new rules from mid-April. Globally, the ad transparency rules - already in place in the US, Britain, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Israel - will be rolled out by late June, the company added.

The above details will also be available in Facebook’s ‘Ads Library’, which stores all political ads in its database for seven years.

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