Facebook toughens political advertisement policy in India

Users can track “published by” and “paid by” disclaimers

Facebook Inc is toughening up the rules governing political advertisements in India to create more transparency ahead of the general elections, the social media giant said late on Thursday.

Users will see political advertisements with “published by” and “paid by” disclaimers, the company said.

Users will be able to access a library that allows them to search and find out more about political advertisements such as how much is spent on them and the demographics of advertising views.

People will soon also be able to see country locations of users who manage the Facebook pages that carry political ads. “By increasing transparency around ads and pages on Facebook, we hope to increase accountability for advertisers, help people assess the content they’re seeing and prevent future abuse in elections,” the company said.

The new features and policy comes into force on February 21.

The moves are part of Facebook’s attempts to reshape its public image which took a beating last year after a privacy scandal involving British data consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The company has also faced intense pressure from India, one of the world’s biggest Internet markets, to curb the spread of misinformation through its WhatsApp messenger.

Facebook said it is also making it tougher to run a page using a fake account by introducing two-factor authentication and by asking for page administrators’ primary country location.

In past few years, Facebook has effectively been used globally by politicians and their adversaries to distribute fake news and other propaganda.

Advertisements on Facebook can widen the reach of such material, but some of those efforts may violate election rules and the company’s policies.

Under intense global public scrutiny, Facebook last year introduced several initiatives to increase monitoring of political advertisements.

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