Facebook Imposes Restrictions on Ads and Pages

Facebook announced changes to the way the company manages ads and pages on Facebook and Instagram. The purpose is to increase transparency and accountability – and to prevent election interference.

Last October, Facebook announced that only authorized advertisers would be able to run electoral ads on Facebook and Instagram. Now, Facebook is extending that requirement to anyone who wants to show “issue ads”.

Facebook describes “issue ads” as “political topics that are being debated across the country.” To get authorized by Facebook, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Advertisers will be prohibited from running political ads – electoral or issue based – until they are authorized.

Those kinds of ads on Facebook and Instagram will be clearly labeled in the top left corner as “Political Ad”. Next to that label, Facebook will show “paid for by” information. Facebook users who live in the United States will start seeing the label and additional information on those kinds of ads later this spring.

Facebook has invested in artificial intelligence and has added more people to find advertisers who didn’t go through the authorization process. Facebook users who see an unlabeled political ad will be able to report it.

In Canada, Facebook has been testing a new feature called View Ads. It allows users to see the ads that a Page is running – even if that Page is not in your News Feed. This applies to all advertiser Pages on Facebook and is not limited to Pages that are running political ads.

The View Ads feature will launch globally in June, along with a public, searchable, political ad archive. It will contain all ads with the “Political Ad” label, and show the image and text, as well as additional information like the amount spent and demographic audience information for each ad.

In addition, Facebook is now requiring people who manage Pages with large numbers of users to be verified. Those who manage large Pages and do not clear the process will no longer be able to post. This is intended to make it harder for people to administer a Page using a fake account. Facebook will now show additional context about Pages, including whether a Page has changed its name.