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Facebook launches new political ad rules in UK, news publishers exempt

Tyrone Stewart

FacebookFacebook has officially begun enforcing its stricter political advertising rules in the UK, deciding that news publishers will no longer need to go through its political ad transparency process, as previously planned.

Political advertisers in the UK are now required to confirm their identity and location, as well as who paid for the ad, before they are put through the approval process for advertising on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Approved ads will be stored in an Ad Library for seven years, while unapproved advertisers will be prevented from running a political ad.

Originally, the plan was to include ads from mainstream news publishers in this process, but trade groups representing the mainstream media argued that including ads promoting political news stories in the Ad Library could be misconstrued as political advocacy on their part rather than just reporting the news.

“As enforcement begins today in the UK, we will not require eligible news publishers to get authorised, and we won’t include their ads in the Ad Library. Since the news index isn’t fully rolled out yet, we’ll initially use UK member lists from a variety of established news industry groups to help inform which news organisations receive authorisation exemptions,” said Rob Leathern, director of product management at Facebook, in a blog post.

“Enforcement on these ads will never be perfect, but we’ll continue to work on improving our systems and technology to prevent abuse. Uncovering who ultimately paid for a political ad is a challenge that goes beyond Facebook, but we know that we must make it a lot harder for bad actors to deceive or interfere on our platform.”