Facebook will require more authentication for people buying political ads

Key Points
  • Facebook will require additional authorization on who can buy "issue ads," including purchaser identity and location. Political ads will be clearly labeled.
  • Managers of pages with large followings will also need to be authenticated, though it is unclear what that process will look like.
Facebook announces new ads and pages transparency rules

Facebook will require an authorization process for people who want to buy political issue-based ads, and for managers of pages with large followings.

"These steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post Friday. "But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads. Election interference is a problem that's bigger than any one platform, and that's why we support the Honest Ads Act. This will help raise the bar for all political advertising online."

In October, Facebook said it would require an authorization process for election-related ads. The news today expands that to all issue ads.

Facebook political ads will now come with labels and say who bought the ad.

The process will require advertisers to confirm their identity and location. The political ads will be clearly labeled and have "paid for by" information posted next to them. Later in June, Facebook will release a public political ads database which will show the image, text, spend and target demographic audience for the ad. The program, which is being tested in Canada right now, will launch globally this summer. It is also working on a searchable archive for past political ads.

The company will also require users who manage pages with tens of thousands of followers to be authenticated, although it did not state what the process will be.

To complete both initiatives, Facebook will hire more people before the 2018 elections, but it did not say how many people it would hire.