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To increase authenticity & transparency, Meta announces enforcement on ads around social issues

The enforcement will require anyone running ads on social issues on Facebook and Instagram to be authorised and include disclaimers on their ads

Meta has announced the launch of enforcement around ads on social issues in India to bring in more transparency to the people and to enhance the integrity efforts around elections.

Rolled out earlier this month, the enforcement will require anyone running ads on social issues on Facebook and Instagram to be authorised and include disclaimers on their ads, enabling people to see the name of the person or organisation running these ads.

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“Over the last few years, Meta has made significant investments in teams and technologies to better protect elections, empower people to vote and create a safe platform to share diverse beliefs. But we have learned that certain types of speech have the most meaningful impact on public opinion and how people vote at the polls. This includes ads that discuss, debate, or advocate for or against important topics under our ads about social issues, elections or politics policy,” a statement from the company read.

According to it, the enforcement will be applicable on ads around nine social issues topics - environmental politics, crime, economy, health, political values and governance, civil and social rights, immigration, education and security and foreign policy. 

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Earlier, prior to the 2019 General Elections in India, advertisers in India that wanted to run electoral and political ads were required to go through the authorisation process using government-issued photo ID, and place "Paid for by" disclaimers on the ads. This means anyone who wants to run these types of ads in India has to first confirm their identity and location, and give more details about who paid for or published the ad. This included any person creating, modifying, publishing, or pausing ads that had a reference to political figures, political parties or elections. Ads were also entered into our Ad Library for seven years.

“Starting December 2021, we are making the same authorisation process mandatory for advertisers that choose to run social issue ads on Facebook and Instagram. Any political, electoral or social issue ads on Facebook that do not have the correct authorisation or disclaimers will be removed from the platform and archived in a public Ad Library for seven years,” the statement further read.

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The company said that it understands that ads on social issues are sensitive, heavily debated and highly politicised topics over which the public can be deeply divided. It also said that the company understands that the collective discussion of social issues by political figures, brands and advocacy groups can influence the way many people think about a topic which can further drive the decision of who they vote for and this can impact outcomes, like an election or legislation.

“These additional transparency features are requirements for advertisers who want to run ads about social issues, elections or politics, and are designed to promote safe and healthy debate on influential topics, so that people can better understand who’s trying to influence them with ads. We are committed to protecting elections and increasing authenticity, transparency and accountability for advertisers to give everyone a voice on our platform and empower people to vote,” the statement said.

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