Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Facebook's new policy: Advertisers pushing political issues must verify their identities

Facebook's new policy: Advertisers pushing political issues must verify their identities

Facebook will then require entities that seek to purchase issues-based ads to first verify who they are and their location offline - similar to Facebook's announcement in October that those who buy ads that explicitly mention the names of political candidates would need to provide verification. "But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads", Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post announcing the changes.

"I serve at the pleasure of [CEO Mark Zuckerberg] and our board, and I will be here as long as they think I'm the right person to run this and to lead our response and to make sure that we can rebuild trust with people all over the world", Sandberg said.

Like his instant messages from 2010, in which a 19-year-old Zuck called early Facebook users "dumb f***s" for trusting him with their data.

While initially it was assumed that the London-based consultancy gained access to "only" 50 million accounts, for political targeting and psychological profiling, including during the 2016 USA election campaign, on Wednesday Facebook revealed that Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 87 million people, including 71 million Americans.

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The new figure for affected users was shared by Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer in a blogpost detailing new privacy measures on the company's website.

We may never know what messages belonging to Zuckerberg Facebook wants to hide. The company has already required political ads to verify who is paying for them and where the advertiser is located. With data breaches of financial institutions, eCommerce sites, and social media platforms becoming commonplace, it's best to assume that nothing done on the internet is private.

Critics have pilloried the company for letting Russian operatives spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign, and the new policy was welcomed in Washington, where lawmakers have been working on legislation that would force social media companies to be more transparent about who is buying certain kinds of ads. "That would be a paid product", Sandberg told NBC News.

As TechCrunch's Josh Constine points out, the covert move goes against Facebook's terms of service, which states that it can only remove content from users' accounts if it violates the platform's community standards.

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Pages with large followings will also require verification, the chief exec said.

"While this project relies heavily on the collection of data to support analytics and decision making, the data that will be collected is either a data derivative or anonymous data", the document said, stressing that none of data would have information that could be used to identify individuals.

Sheryl Sandberg speaking on a panel at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, Nov. 3, 2015.

"They gave us assurances, and it wasn't until other people told us it wasn't true", she said.

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"We learned about this late". A company spokesperson shared the following statement: "We have discussed this feature several times".

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