Facebook adds new requirements for political advertisers, the company said Wednesday, as part of its efforts to make the platform safer in the run-up to the 2020 elections. Before a political ad is purchased, advertisers must provide more information about their organization, including government issued identification numbers. The move, which will take effect mid-September, is in response to some advertisers using misleading names in their disclaimers to hide their identity.
"In 2018 we saw that our disclaimer process could be abused," said Sarah Schiff, a Facebook product manager. The edge. "This is an attempt to strengthen that process."
Today's changes mark an evolution in the political publication requirements that Facebook introduced last year. At the beginning of last spring, the company began demanding that everyone buy political ads to verify their identity and location. Now they have to go one step further and provide proof that they are part of the organization they say they represent.
For commercial companies, non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations, this means that they must provide a tax registered organization identification number. Government and military advertisers must provide a web domain and email address that ends in .gov or .mil. Political action committees and parties must provide their federal election committee with identification numbers.
In exchange for providing that information, organizations can use their name in disclaimers for advertisements. A & # 39; i & # 39; icon in the upper right corner of the ad indicates that it is a & # 39; confirmed organization & # 39; If you click on that icon, additional information about the advertiser will be displayed, including the government ID.
"Although the authorization process will not be perfect, it will help us confirm the legitimacy of an organization and give people more information about who is behind the ads they see," the company said in a blog post.
Facebook also makes it possible for smaller organizations and local politicians to buy advertisements. They are asked to enter a name, address, website, email address and telephone number for the organization, which Facebook will verify. They can also choose not to submit information for their organization, but in that case they cannot use the name of an organization in a disclaimer.
In addition to the new advertising requirements, Facebook also updates the advertising categories that it considers to be political. What had been 20 subject areas has now been consolidated into 10 categories, of which Facebook says it is more inclusive. At the same time, Facebook says it works to be less restrictive – for ads that promote recycling, advertisers no longer need to verify their mailing address.
The move comes after some advertisers complained that the system prevented them from buying ads without going through the heavier registration process, even when the ad did not have a real political angle.
Facebook said the new rules would come into effect in mid-September. If advertisers have not submitted the required information by mid-October, their ability to purchase ads will be & # 39; interrupted & # 39 ;, the company said.