Amid the increasing pressure from governments across the world, Facebook has stepped up its vigilance of political ads placed on its platform in India ahead of the general elections scheduled in 2019. The company is now reportedly considering an offline process for verifying identity and locations of political advertisers in India.
With nearly 294 Mn users in India, Facebook is trying hard to be transparent about how it runs political advertisements. The company has reportedly written an email to individual advertisers and agencies in India stating that they will have to submit scanned copies of address and identify proofs if they wish to place an advertisement on the platform.
It also added that the advertising companies will be visited by the India-based team for verification. The agencies can also ask Facebook to send a verification code by post, similar to what was done during the US-midterm elections.
It had directed that any advertiser who wants to run a political ad in India will need to first confirm their identity and location. Ad agencies were also asked to submit details about who placed the ad.
The social media company had earlier announced that it would implement stricter controls on political advertisements. In May, Facebook opened a public political ad archive that would allow users to see the buyers of political ads in an effort to make those ads more transparent, like they are on TV, on radio and in print. This ad archive is currently active in the US, UK and Brazil.
Quoting a company spokesperson, a media report said that a ‘Facebook Cyber Security Guide for Politicians and Political Parties’ has been shared with over 850 policy makers including Indian parliamentarians, chief ministers, and all chief electoral officers.
The guide outlines the company’s plans and policies to safeguard the accounts of the politicians as well as prevent the spread of misinformation.
The Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media company has been facing criticisms from all over the globe because of weak data security system which led to several data breaches incidents this year.
In order to gain the trust back, the company has stepped up its game to prevent the spread of politically incorrect advertisements on its platform which could lead to national unrest.
The political issues came into light when the company was accused and criticised for the spread of misinformation and fake news after the 2016 US Presidential elections.
[The development was reported by ET]