- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Facebook unveiled new rules for political advertisers Wednesday as the social media company looks to prevent its platforms from being abused during the 2020 U.S. presidential race.

Ads involving social issues, elections or politics will need to meet new disclaimer requirements before being shown to Facebook and Instagram users, according to the company.

Political advertisers will be required to provide additional details about their respective organizations for their ads to appear on the platforms, Facebook explained in a blog post.

Advertisers who provide a tax-registered organization identification number, a Federal Election Commission (FEC) identification number, or government website domain will be labeled a “Confirmed Organization” by Facebook and have that information easily made available to users, said the blog post.

Organizations who wish to advertise on Facebook but do not offer proof of being registered with the U.S. government can still place political ads on the platforms as long as they provide verifiable contact information for either the organization or its administrator, albeit without receiving the “Confirmed Organization” label, the post said.

Political advertisers who fail to meet the new disclosure requirements by mid-October will have their ads suspended, Facebook said.

“While the authorization process won’t be perfect, it will help us confirm the legitimacy of an organization and provide people with more details about who’s behind the ads they are seeing,” said the blog post.

Facebook previously determined that hundreds of accounts on its platforms during the 2016 U.S. presidential race were operated by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll factory” accused of interfering in the election in part by placing about $100,000 worth of paid political ads on both Facebook and Instagram.

Several associated individuals and entities have subsequently been charged with related crimes as a result of the U.S. government’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including the Internet Research Agency, its parent company and alleged bankroller. They have pleaded not guilty through their attorneys.

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