Facebook starts enforcing verification for UK political ads, changes approach to news

Last month, Facebook unveiled its plan to require advertisers wanting to run political advertisements on the platform in the UK to disclose who paid for the ads, among other requirements. Today, the social media giant announced the start of the verification requirements for UK political ads, with changes to how it treats ads from news organizations promoting their articles that contain references to political figures and issues.

With the authorization process now in effect in the UK, advertisers are required to validate their identity and location in addition to declaring an ad's sponsors in order to gain Facebook's approval. Information on who pays for the ad must be contained in a “Paid for by” disclaimer. The lack of such detail will mean the removal of the ad which will then be consigned to the Ad Library, an archive where all political ads will be contained for seven years.

Regarding the Ad Library, Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook, wrote in a blog post:

This helps shine a brighter light on political advertising and offers a resource for news organizations, regulators, watchdog groups and the public to hold advertisers more accountable. We also welcome people to report any ad they believe is missing a disclaimer.

In an apparent move to recognize the line between journalism and propaganda, Facebook also says that it will exempt news publishers in the UK from the verification process and exclude their ads from the archive. Those organizations will be identified based on the lists from various news industry groups since Facebook's index for those publishers isn't complete yet. However, the exemption won't roll out for news publishers in the U.S. until next year when the company will start applying the index to the vetting process.

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