Social media giant Facebook on Friday said only authorised advertisers would now be able to run advertisements on several key topics. On its blog, Facebook said it would initiate changes to the way the social network managed advertisements and pages, and the new features will be “designed to increase transparency and accountability, as well as prevent election interference.”
“We are working with third parties to develop a list of key issues, which we will refine over time,” Facebook Vice President of Ads Rob Goldman and Local & Pages Vice President Alex Himel said. “To get authorised by Facebook, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Advertisers will be prohibited from running political ads – electoral or issue-based – until they are authorised.”
Facebook also said these ads would be labelled as “political ad” and the information about who paid for them will also be visible. The social media company said it may not be possible to label every political ad, and users should hence report when they see a promotional with no label.
The company said it would also release a public, searchable political ads archive in June. Another feature, to allow users to see ads a page is running even if it is not in the news feed, is being tested in Canada, Facebook said.
The social media firm said that people who manage pages with a large number of users will have to be verified. Those who do not get verification will no longer be able to post. “This will make it much harder for people to administer a Page using a fake account,” Facebook said.
On Thursday, Facebook admitted that the data of more than five lakh Indian users had been compromised.
WhatsApp denies keeping track of user messages
Meanwhile, social messaging service WhatsApp on Friday denied that it keeps track of users’ messages and said that it collects very little data, PTI reported. The service, which Facebook owns, also said that every message is end-to-end encrypted.
“Contrary to recent comments in the media, we are not keeping track of the friends and family you have messaged,” an unidentified WhatsApp spokesperson told PTI. “The privacy and security of our users is incredibly important to WhatsApp.” The messaging service has 20 crore users in India.
Vivek Wadhwa, a United States-based technology entrepreneur, had told the agency on Thursday that WhatsApp was mining metadata such as information about calls made by users.
The WhatsApp spokesperson said group administrators could use invite links carefully, with only trusted individuals. “Group members can see everyone in the group including their number and their name. We make it easy to leave a group or block unwanted messages with one tap.”