MASTERCLASSING

Facebook extends political ad rules to regions with big votes on the horizon

Tyrone Stewart

FacebookFacebook is rolling out its political advertising rules to more countries around the world, ahead of forthcoming major elections taking place over the next few months.

The social network has received global criticism in the last two years or so for the part its platform has played in election processes by providing a means for the distribution of fake news and propaganda by those with vested interest in particular votes.

Since then, the company has made changes to its political advertising rules in countries such as the US, Brazil, and the UK in order to fight fake news. The newest regions to benefit from at least some of the rules are India, Nigeria, Ukraine, and the European Union, Reuters reports.

In Nigeria, where a presidential election is set to take place next month, only advertisers located in the country will be able to run electoral ads – a rule that will also be introduced in Ukraine next month ahead of its March elections.

India is preparing for parliamentary elections in the spring. Here, Facebook has begun collecting information on those buying political ads and place all the ads in a searchable online library from next month. The European Union will also get a version of this ‘authorisation and transparency’ system ahead of its parliamentary elections in May.

According to Facebook, the different policies applied in each region is due to the company having to adhere to local laws, while also reflecting conversations it has had with governments and civil society groups.

The social network is also looking at potentially rolling out political advertising rules in Australia, Indonesia, Israel, and the Philippines, with those nations all preparing for key votes this year also. The company aims to have a global policy in place by the end of June.

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