Facebook has updated its Ad Library and has altered its political ad policy and announced it after months of several debates.
Ad Library is a public archive used to view political and social issue ads running and those run in the past on Facebook & Instagram. The updates would also affect the Facebook political ad policy.
The tool was designed to give these ads more transparency and advertisers more accountability. Facebook has announced a few updates to give users more control.
View Audience Size will show the potential reach or the estimated target audience size for each of these ads.
Updated Search & Filtering will give users the ability to search for ads with the exact phrases and filters to analyze results.
Every now and then advertisers upload hashed lists of phone numbers, emails or other information that can help them build custom target audiences. The platform will now be providing an option that would let users choose how an advertiser can reach them. This update applies to all ads, not just political and social ads.
A new control is also being rolled out that would let users see fewer political and social issue ads on Facebook and Instagram.
The features will roll out in the first quarter of 2020 and will apply in all countries where there is a facility of “Paid for by” disclaimers on ads. Political ads control will be deployed starting with the US this summer, eventually expanding to more locations.
Political Ads Policy
There have been several debates and back & forth Congress hearings on political advertising and whether social media platforms are equipped to deal with obstructions that can have negative real-world consequences.
Twitter announced an updated Political Ad Policy global banning most Political Ads on the platform. Elizabeth Warren, Presidential Candidate (US), criticized Twitter’s updated political ad policy, saying it dismisses the ability of certain groups to make their case.
Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, showed us that Facebook is in no position to handle paid promotions of political content when they cannot attempt to rationalize not fact-checking political content.
Facebook & Google are two of the dominating companies with most of the market share when it comes to digital advertising. While Google chose to limit the targeting of political ads, Facebook is choosing to give more control to people when it comes to political ads.
Facebook claims Community Standards and policies that (for example)ban hate speech, harmful content, and content designed to intimidate voters or stop them from exercising their right to vote, will still apply to these ads and the ones that don’t comply will be disallowed.
Although, politicians and political parties are not brands that work for their individual profits and therefore running political ads is very close to the line that differentiates a political party and a brand.
Politicians can still reach the whole of the userbase of any social media platform without using paid promotions, several creators and other figures are able to do so. They can communicate through their channels while users having the option to listen according to their preferences and choose to follow or not.