Facebook ramps up its rules for U.S. political advertisers ahead of U.S. presidential elections

With social media increasingly playing a pivotal role during elections, Facebook is ramping up efforts to uncloak U.S. political advertisers.

Ahead of the U.S. president elections in November 2020, Facebook Inc has begun tightening its political ad rules in the United States, said the social media giant on Wednesday. The new disclosures rules are applicable for its site as well as for its photo-sharing platform Instagram.

Under Facebook’s new rules, U.S. political advertisers will have to show government-issued credentials to demonstrate their legitimacy. Further, All advertisers running ads on social issues as well as on politics will to post their contact information; this is applicable to even those who are not seeking the official label.

U.S. political advertisers on Facebook have until mid-October to comply failing which they risk their ads being cut off.

Although since May 2018, Facebook required all political advertisers, in the United States, to put a “paid for by” disclaimer on their ads, Facebook said some advertisers had used misleading disclaimers or had tried to register as non-existing organizations, in potential efforts to bypass its rules.

“In 2018 we did see evidence of misuse in these disclaimers and so this is our effort to strengthen the process,” said Sarah Schiff, Facebook’s product manager.

Paid Facebook ads are increasingly becoming a major tool in the playbook for political advertisers running social media campaigns in order to influence voters.

So far, U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has spent nearly $9.6 million on ads on Facebook, making him the top spender among 2020 candidates, said Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic firm that tracks digital ad spending.

In 2018, Facebook’s rules required political advertisers to submit a U.S. mailing address as well as an identity document. Under new rules, political advertisers will also have to supply a phone number, website and business email.

In order to receive a “confirmed organization” label, advertisers will have to submit a Federal Election Commission ID number, tax-registered organization ID number, or government website domain matching an official email.

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