Facebook ramps up political ad transparency ahead of Nigerian 2019 elections


"Political advertisers in these countries must confirm their identity and location before they can run ads, and their ads are housed in a public, searchable Ad Library for up to seven years".

Ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and other countries across the world, social media giant, Facebook has announced an extension of some of its political advertising rules and tools to curb the spread of fake news and foreign interference.

There were reports past year of how a London-based data mining and analytic firm, SCL, which is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, tried to rig the 2015 Nigerian presidential election in favour of the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan.

Katie Harbath, Facebook's director of global politics and outreach told Reuters that Facebook's policies differ between countries to reflect local laws and conversations with governments and civil society groups. Facebook says some of the ads can violate election rules and company policies. "We know we are not going to be flawless, but our goal is continuing, ongoing improvement".

Polling 963 Facebook users aged 18 and up between September 4 and October 1 of past year, the survey found that slightly more than half of survey respondents reported being "not very or not at all comfortable" with how the company amassed the list of apparent interest categories.

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That means extra steps to verify identities and locations of political ad buyers in the U.S. and India will not be introduced in every big election this year, Leathern said. The archive will contain contact information for some ad buyers or their official regulatory certificates. Individuals will have to furnish government issued documents such as voter ID card for buying political ads.

Cambridge Analytica reportedly deployed all kinds of fake, negative news and hate and propaganda messages to sway the 2015 presidential vote Jonathan's way.

"And so, until we can get to that in June, we had to look at the different elections and what we think we can do".

Facebook takes into account a number of metrics when populating its "Your ad preferences" list including data provided by a user, their engagement with content on the site like the material they post, like and commented on and even their behavior outside of Facebook.