Facebook Will Include News Organizations in Political Ad Database
News organizations are being put on notice that they too will be subject to a new Facebook advertising policy that’s aimed at combating the spread of political misinformation, according to Bloomberg.
The social media giant sent letters this week to members of the News Media Alliance, which include the New York Times and the Washington Post, outlining new rules that take effect May 22. Under the guidelines, Facebook will disclose when news organizations pay to boost the exposure of political articles, and store the details in an archive that includes advertisements for politicians or political groups. The political articles that are promoted will include labels specifying “paid for by,” just like the political ads.
The notification prompted backlash from the News Media Alliance, which represents nearly 2,000 news organizations, arguing that their members should be left out of the database and the new rules on disclosure will ultimately elevate less credible news sources on Facebook. “Your plan to group quality publishers alongside political advocacy, which the ad archive will do, dangerously blurs the lines between real reporting and propaganda,” David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, said in a letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg. “This treatment of quality news as political, even in the context of marketing, is deeply problematic.”
Critics have pilloried Facebook for letting Russian operatives spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign. The company has announced changes to its advertising policies that it’s said would make it harder for rogue operatives to set up fake accounts and push divisive points of view. One of the requirements includes forcing advertisers touting social or political issues to verify their identity and location. Another change entails creating a political ad archive, showing the total amounts spent, the number of impressions and demographic information including age, location and gender of who saw them.