Political Advertisers will have now have to prove their affiliation with an organization, Says Facebook

Facebook is trying to make its platform secure before the upcoming elections by introducing new requirements for political advertisers. Marketers will be required to provide additional information about the organization before buying a political ad, like the identification number issued by the government.

Previously some of the advertisers used to hide their identities by providing misleading information in disclaimer. The new changes in requirements will be implemented from mid-September.

Sarah Schiff, product manager at Facebook, said last year their disclaimer process had flaws that could be misused. However, with new requirements, the process will be strengthened.

Political ad disclosure was introduced by Facebook in 2018, and since spring last year, the company started verifying the identity and location of anyone buying a political ad. Now they will have to prove whether they belong to the organization they are advertising or not.

The nongovernmental, nonprofit, and commercial businesses will be asked to enter tax-registered organization identification number when buying an ad. Government and military advertisers will be asked to enter domain and website with .gov or .mil at the end. Political action committees and parties will have to provide the Federal Election Commission number.

By providing this information, advertisers can use the name of the organization in ad disclaimer. An “i” icon will appear at the top right corner of the ad, confirming the authenticity of the organization. Clicking the icon will show more information about the advertiser, including the government ID number.
"The “i” icons help people on Facebook and Instagram better understand who’s trying to influence them and why.", explained Facebook in a blog post.

The authorization process may not be seamless, but at least the legitimacy of an organization will be confirmed, and people would be able to see who is behind the ad, explained the Facebook team.

Small organization and local politicians will also be able to buy ads on Facebook. They will have to provide name, address, website, email, and phone number, which will then be verified by the company. They can choose not to submit all the details, but then they will not be allowed to display the name of any organization in the disclaimer.

Facebook is also working on updating the political advertising categories. There were 20 categories which will now be reduced to only 10, to make them more comprehensive. Also, the company is trying to lessen the strictness level.

Like advertising promoting recycling will not be required to verify their mailing address. This step was taken when some of the advertisers complained they had to go through a burdensome registration process for their ads which do not even have political agenda.

This rule will be effective from mid-September and advertisers will be required to submit the details by mid-October. Failure to do so will result in pausing their ad buying, said Facebook.

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