FROM today, if you want to advertise a political cause on Facebook in the UK, you’ll have to obey new rules. You will need to prove your identity and location to the company, and each ad will carry a message saying who paid for it.
There will also be an online archive, showing all of your previous ads, roughly how much you spent, and who they have reached. The archive can be searched by anyone, whether or not they are a Facebook member.
The new system has already been in operation in the US and Brazil.
Facebook was forced to act following controversy about ads it displayed during the 2016 US Presidential election campaign and the UK’s EU referendum.
In the United States, thousands of ads were bought by Russian groups trying to sow discord. Facebook has been under pressure to make sure the same thing did not happen in the run-up to November’s mid-term elections.
Facebook insists that Russian spending on ads during the Brexit campaign amounted to just £0.73, although the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee was unhappy with the level of information provided by the company.