As part of its continuing efforts to protect elections from misinformation and meddling, Facebook will be making all European political parties register as advertisers across the EU.
EU elections are coming up in May, and Facebook is preparing to make sure that voters will be protected against misinformation and bad actors working to sway public opinions. According to a recent Financial Times report, Sir Nick Clegg – former Deputy PM of the United Kingdom and now Facebook’s VP for Comms – announced the company’s “plans to step up its attempts to fight against disinformation campaigns by setting up an electoral hub in Dublin and introducing new EU rules for political advertising.”
The new rules will include a pan-European database to be set up from March, that will keep the details of those who place and pay for political advertising on Facebook. The database exists already, but only contains details of parties and campaigners in the United Kingdom, but will now be expanding across all of the EU’s 27 member states. Those who want to run political and issues ads will have to be authorised and their ads will “display a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer.”
All political parties will need to register as advertisers and campaign by national electoral rules across the EU. But it’s not just parties that will be covered by the new rules. Political groups that run “issue” ads “on topics such as immigration” will also need to do the same. The fear is that “Eurosceptic forces will hijack May’s vote to spread ‘fake news’.” This is by no means implausible, so Facebook is doing everything it can to minimise misuse of its platform and its ads tools.
Finally, Facebook also announced that it is expanding its fact-checking program, which now covers content in 16 languages. Fact-checkers will now have the ability “to review photos and videos, in addition to article links,” since Facebook knows that “multimedia-based misinformation is making up a greater share of false news.” When a fact-checker rates a post as false, Facebook down-ranks it in News Feed, thus significantly reducing its distribution.
The news was also shared in a newsroom post detailing all of Facebook’s efforts to protect the European Parliament Elections.
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