Facebook clamps down on page managers and political advertising with Twitter to follow

As Facebook deals with the fallout of various privacy and political scandals, the social media service has announced changes to its page management and political advertising guidelines for both the main social media service and Instagram.

In the policy announced over the weekend, managers of groups with a “large number of followers” will be subject to more detailed scrutiny including their identity and location to make it harder for people to administer a page using a fake account.

Facebook has made a series of announcements following the Cambridge Analytica scandal

More detail on pages will also be available to help people put pages’ provenance in context.

In the same announcement, Facebook also said it has started testing further requirements for what it calls ‘issue ads’ – advertisements that appear to be politically motivated.

“We are committed to ensuring integrity of elections around the world, including Australia,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mumbrella.

“We have taken a number of steps to prevent this abuse on our platform, including improving the enforcement and transparency of ads, and enhanced security measures. We are applying what we learned in the US to elections around the world and working with the broader community to identify threats.

“For example, during the recent postal survey on marriage equality, we worked closely with local authorities to ensure that ads that were connected with this, that we were aware of, complied with applicable law. We will be doing the same in all future federal elections.”

Only authorised advertisers will be allowed to run political ads, expanding the rule introduced by Facebook in October last year that applied to open political advertising.

These ads will now be clearly labelled in the top left corner as “Political Ad” with “paid for by” information included in the advert. Ads which fail the verification process will be banned from both Facebook and Instagram.

Mumbrella understands Twitter will also be rolling out similar safeguards with the service planning to make it clear when users are seeing or engaging with an electioneering ad

In Twitter’s initiative, the service will be requiring that electioneering advertisers identify their campaigns as being political ads. The service will also be changing the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator.

The social media giants’ moves brings the service into line with Australian political advertising requirements which mandates disclosure for ‘electoral matter’.

In its Electoral Backgrounder: Electoral communications and authorisation requirements paper, the Australian Electoral Commission states posts not intended for personal friends must carry a note stating the organisation authorising the message.

If you have not reposted the content for personal purposes, you must authorise your post, including the reposted communication and your commentary. The original post is authorised by the original communicator. The provider of the service used to post both messages does not authorise either the original post or your post, as the service provider did not make the decision to communicate the content.

Mumbrella has contacted the AEC about whether the agency has engaged with Facebook on the new policy and whether any social media posters have fallen foul of the rules in recent years.

The political advertisement and page administrator changes come on the back of revisions to the company’s news feed.



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