Offering Greater Transparency for Social Issue, Electoral or Political Ads in More Countries

By Sarah Schiff, Product Manager

Update on July 18, 2022 at 5:00PM PT:

As part of our broader commitment to elections integrity, we are expanding the use of our ad transparency tools – and the enforcement of our electoral and political ad policies – to additional countries and territories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC), including:

  • Switzerland, Liberia, Uganda, Egypt, Congo, Rwanda, Kazakhstan and Pakistan on July 28
  • Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos and Cambodia on September 7

Advertisers who run political and electoral ads are required to complete an authorization process and include a “paid for by” disclaimer on these ads. These ads are then stored in the publicly-available Ad Library for seven years, with information about advertiser targeting selections now available in addition to data on ad delivery. 

Beginning this month, we are offering advertisers a third disclaimer option, in which the Page Name can be used to represent the entity. This is intended to help those who may not have a website or an email domain that matches their website domain.

After these expansions, our transparency products and electoral ad policy enforcement will be available in more than 220 countries and territories around the world, representing the vast majority of nations where our advertising tools are available. A full list of countries and territories with electoral and political ad enforcement will continue to be updated and can be found in our Help Center.

Originally published on June 25, 2019 at 8:00AM PT:

We believe that transparency leads to increased accountability and responsibility over time – not just for Facebook but advertisers as well. It’s why we continue to introduce tools that allow elected officials, those seeking office, and organizations aiming to influence public opinion to show more information about the ads they run and who’s behind them. At the same time, we’re continuing our work to combat foreign interference in elections worldwide.

Starting today, we are rolling out our transparency tools globally for advertisers wanting to place ads about social issues, elections or politics. For a full list of countries and territories where these tools are now available, visit our Help Center.

Getting Authorized

As part of the authorization process for advertisers, we confirm their ID and allow them to disclose who is responsible for the ad, which will appear on the ad itself. The ad and “Paid for by” disclaimer are placed in the Ad Library for seven years, along with more information such as range of spend and impressions, as well as demographics of who saw it. 

The authorization process will not change in countries where we’ve previously launched, and people who previously authorized will not need to reauthorize.

Holding Advertisers Accountable

Elections are happening all over the world and some happen with very little notice. We are committed to requiring authorizations and disclaimers for social issue, electoral or political ads in more places. 

We already require that advertisers get authorized and add disclaimers to these ads in over 50 countries and territories, and now we’re expanding proactive enforcement on these ads to countries where elections or regulations are approaching, starting with Ukraine, Singapore, Canada and Argentina. Beginning today, we will systematically detect and review ads in Ukraine and Canada through a combination of automated and human review. In Singapore and Argentina, we will begin enforcement within the next few months. We also plan to roll out the Ad Library Report in both of those countries after enforcement is in place. The Ad Library Report will allow you to track and download aggregate spend data across advertisers and regions. For all other countries included in today’s announcement, we will not be proactively detecting or reactively reviewing possible social issue, electoral or political ads at this time. However, we strongly encourage advertisers in those countries to authorize and add the proper disclaimers, especially in a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape.  

In all cases, it will be up to the advertiser to comply with any applicable electoral or advertising laws and regulations in the countries they want to run ads in. If we are made aware of an ad that is in violation of a law, we will act quickly to remove it. With these tools, regulators are now better positioned to consider how to protect elections with sensible regulations, which they are uniquely suited to do.

In countries where we are not yet detecting or reviewing these types of ads, these tools provide their constituents with more information about who’s influencing their vote — and we suggest voters and local regulators hold these elected officials and influential groups accountable as well. 

Expanding the Ad Library API

We know we can’t do this alone, which is why we’re also rolling out access to our Ad Library API globally so regulators, journalists, watchdog groups and other people can analyze ads about social issues, elections or politics and help hold advertisers and Facebook accountable. Since we expanded access in March, we’ve made improvements to our API so people can easily access ads from a given country and analyze specific advertisers. We’re also working on making it easier to programmatically access ad images, videos and recently served ads.

We’ll continue to partner with governments, civil organizations and electoral authorities to protect the integrity of elections worldwide. Our work to help protect elections is never done, but we believe changes like these continue to move us in the right direction.

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