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Facebook's expanded transparency features will roll out in Q2 2020

New features will allow people to see fewer political ads on Facebook and Instagram

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MUMBAI: Facebook is updating its Ad Library to increase the level of transparency for political ads and provide users with more control over the ads they see. The platform will be adding a feature that will help to view audience size in the ad library, will provide better ad library search and filtering, control over and see fewer political ads.

The Ad Library is a unique tool to shine a light on political and social issue ads — a public archive that allows people to see all the ads politicians and campaigns are running on Facebook and Instagram and those that have run in the past. “This is an important step in making political ads more transparent and advertisers more accountable: the public can see every ad served to anyone in an easily searchable database,” said Facebook.

Facebook launched the Ad Library in May 2018 and over the past several months they have spoken to dozens of political campaigns, activists, NGOs, nonprofits and volunteers about its policies for political ads. “Two themes we heard was that first, people want more transparency over who is using ads to try to influence voters and second, they want more control over the ads they see,” said Facebook.

The platform further announced, “The expanded transparency features will roll out in the first quarter of 2020 and will apply in all countries where we facilitate “Paid for by” disclaimers on ads. We plan to deploy the political ads control starting in the US early this summer, eventually expanding this preference to more locations.”

It also said, “There has been much debate in recent months about political advertising online and the different approaches that companies have chosen to take. While Twitter has chosen to block political ads and Google has chosen to limit the targeting of political ads, we are choosing to expand transparency and give more controls to people when it comes to political ads.”

“We don’t think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies, which is why we are arguing for regulation that would apply across the industry. The Honest Ads Act is a good example — legislation that we endorse and many parts of which we’ve already implemented — and we are engaging with policy makers in the European Union and elsewhere to press the case for regulation too. Frankly, we believe the sooner Facebook and other companies are subject to democratically accountable rules on this the better,” said Facebook.

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