Sci-tech

Facebook tightens issue ads, political ads to prevent election interference

Facebook tightens issue ads, political ads to prevent election interference

Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Friday endorsed US legislation to regulate political ads across the internet, a concession to lawmakers days before he is scheduled to testify in two USA congressional hearings.

"After Sony Pictures' emails were hacked in 2014, we made a number of changes to protect our executives' communications", a representative told TechCrunch.

The Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked troll farm that has used Facebook and other social media in an attempt to meddle in US politics, created Pages meant to look like they were run by real American activists. Now this feature is only available in the USA, but we expect a wider rollout soon. This may take some time. "We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages". "Mark is really sorry for that, and what we're doing now is taking really firm action".

But Facebook told TechCrunch it has not finalised exactly how the "unsend" feature will work. Under the "Secret" conversation option, users can send messages that will expire after a pre-defined time.

Facebook announced on Friday that it will require any political ads on its platform to state who is paying for the message, and would verify the identity of the payer, in a bid to curb outside election interference. "In light of recent reports that AggregateIQ may be affiliated with SCL and may, as a result, have improperly received FB user data, we have added them to the list of entities we have suspended from our platform while we investigate", said Facebook's statement.

"We did not follow up and confirm, and that's on us - and particularly once they were active in the election, we should have done that".

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Moscow has denied the allegations.

"This will make it much harder for people to administer a Page using a fake account, which is strictly against our policies", the company said.

In June, Facebook also plans to release a public, searchable political ads archive.

Facebook announced Friday that it is introducing new rules for Facebook Pages - rules that, had they been in place earlier, could have stopped Russian trolls posing as Americans from wreaking havoc on the platform in the lead up to the 2016 USA presidential election. Facebook revealed previous year that roughly 126 million Americans may have seen thousands of Russian-funded ads created to stoke fears and political divisions during the 2016 USA presidential election.

The legislation would expand existing election law covering television and radio outlets to apply to paid internet and digital advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google.

The legislation would also require online platforms to make "all reasonable efforts" to ensure that foreign nationals and entities are not buying political ads to influence the U.S. electorate. Do you think Facebook Messenger will be the same if unsending messages becomes a common feature? Data will also be generally limited to user names, profile photos and email, unless the developer signs a contract with Facebook and gets user approval.