Facebook announces changes to combat election meddling

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Asked for comment, Facebook said in an emailed statement: "We are strongly committed to protecting people's information, and we intend to make all the same privacy controls and settings available everywhere". "We're now taking steps to ensure this doesn't happen again".

Facebook says it will require advertisers who want to run either political ads or so-called "issue ads" -which may not endorse a specific candidate or party but which discuss political topics- to verify themselves. "Last month we decided that we should pause these discussions so can focus on other important work", a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC. The legislation would also require online platforms to make "all reasonable efforts" to ensure that foreign nationals and entities are not buying political ads to influence the US electorate.

The moves are meant to clamp down on fake pages and accounts such as those used to disrupt the 2016 presidential elections in the US and elsewhere.

"We realise we wont catch every ad that should be labelled, and we encourage anyone who sees an unlabelled political ad to report it. People can do this by tapping the three dots at the top right corner of the ad and selecting Report Ad", it said. Facebook will mail them a letter with a special code to confirm the address. This is similar to how Airbnb and other services verify addresses.

Indonesia had 69 million monthly active Facebook users as of the first quarter of 2014, ranking the country fourth globally after the United States, India and Brazil, company data showed.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear on Tuesday before a joint hearing of two U.S. Senate committees, and on Wednesday before a U.S. House committee.

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Sandberg also told NBC that if users were able to opt out of being shown ads, "at the highest level, that would be a paid product".

Although the ability to automatically delete sent texts hadn't been previously available, Facebook says it now plans to make it available to all users. Facebook's other major chat app, WhatsApp, encrypts both ends of its users' communications, so that not even WhatsApp can see it - a fact that's made it more secure for users, and more hard for lawmakers wanting information in investigations. It will have a link to information on which Facebook apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps.

Sandberg gave several interviews this week as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before Congress next week, where the issue of elections meddling is nearly certain to come up.

The development comes as Facebook faces questions about trust in light of one of its worst privacy scandals in its 14-year history.

It started with revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm, improperly accessed the private information of tens of millions of users to try to influence elections around the world.

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