The social networking giant has been the target of criticism since it came to light that Russian agents, in a disinformation campaign, paid advertisements intended to instigate political unrest in the United States during the 2016 campaign, which ended with the election of Donald Trump as president.
Facebook already has rules requiring identification of the authors of political ads, but the company will demand information about who finances it, both on its platform and on Instagram.
The new rules will begin to apply in mid-September and by a month later advertisers must be complying if they don’t want Facebook to reject the ads, according to the company. To meet these requirements, a company can give its tax identification number or campaigns can provide their registration data to the Federal Election Commission, which Facebook would classify as authorized. But according to Kathie Harbath, Facebook’s public relations director, the company has no legal authority to verify that information and, because of that, expects “more government regulation in this space”.
Since May 2018, Facebook has required those responsible for political propaganda to include a statement identifying who pays for the propaganda, but the firm has indicated that some advertisers provide misleading information or have attempted to register as organizations that do not exist. Under the new rules, smaller firms can provide a telephone number, e-mail and postal address, and an Internet site with a domain name that corresponds to the rest of the information, and the personal identification of the person who buys the ads.