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Facebook Clamps Down On Political Ad Buyers Ahead Of The 2020 POTUS Election

Facebook announced Wednesday a new policy requiring people and groups who buy ads promoting political candidates or hot-button issues to provide more information about who is responsible for paying for them.

The Silicon Valley company’s decision comes after several high-profile examples of governments placing misleading disclaimers on ads, which critics say undermines Facebook’s desire to be transparent about spending on its platform. Facebook already requires companies reveal their identities, but Wednesday’s move adds additional requirements.

Starting in September, the company will require buyers to include information about who is funding the ads.  Businesses can submit their tax-identification number, or campaigns will have to share their registration data from the Federal Election Commission to confirm the ad buy.

“We’re trying to do as much as Facebook can do,” Katie Harbath, a public policy director at Facebook, told reporters Wednesday. She claimed Facebook is limited in its approach as the company won’t require organizations to submit detailed information about their donors. Harbarth says regulations are required to force advocacy groups to provide these details.

Much of Facebook’s policy changes recently come as the company seeks to address concerns related to Russia’s behavior after the 2016 election.

Reports from January, for instance, show that Russia might be using its state-run media to create fake posts that appear to emanate from real newsrooms elsewhere. The company dinged 364 pages and accounts from the Baltics, central Asia, the Caucasus and other countries in central and Eastern Europe.

The groups responsible for the pages also spent $135,000 on ads, which were paid for in euros, rubles and U.S. dollars. Facebook also claimed it nixed pages from a separate campaign originating from Russia and Ukraine. The company removed 26 pages, 77 accounts and four groups on the platform, as well as 41 accounts on Instagram.

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