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Twitter Enables Political Ads Tracking In India

Twitter Enables Political Ads Tracking In India

The Centre was launched on this Monday, March 11th

Ads Transparency Centre was also launched in USA in May 2018

Facebook had also incorporated a similar political ads policy with the launch of Ad Library

On March 11, social networking platform Twitter expanded its political ads policy and Ads Transparency Centre (ATC) to include India. ATC would allow anyone across the world to view details about twitter ads, with comprehensive details such as ad spend, reach, payment information and targeted demographics.

With the enforcement of political ads policy, only certified advertisers will be allowed to run political campaigning ads on Twitter. To be a registered political advertiser, account holder will now have to apply for a certification and go through a vetting process.

Twitter said in a statement, “This is part of our overall goal to protect the health of the public conversation on our service and to provide meaningful context around all political entities who use our advertising products.”

As per Inc42’s search, no major Indian political party have been registered as Twitter’s political advertiser. This could be because of the recent release of the ads centre and the vetting process of Twitter which might take some time.

When contacted, Twitter did not share any comments on whether any Indian political party or candidate has applied for the political advertiser certificate or not.

Political advertiser certificate will issued based on submission of various identification documents by the applicants. The political parties registered with the Election Commission of India (ECI) will have to submit ECI registration certificate or founding documents of the political party. Other organisations who are not registered with the ECI and wants to run political ads, will be required to show Corporate Identification Number (CIN) and business address proof. Finally, the individuals or political candidates will have to submit their government issued address proof, nomination paper receipt and notice of scrutiny.

Post certification, all ads promoted from the certified ad account will appear in Twitter’s Ads Transparency Center and include spend, reach, targeting, and payment information (specifically, the city and state of the billing address, and either the name on the credit card or the entity name for IO).

(Image 1: A registered political advertiser’s dashboard from US)

In addition to the certification, all political advertisers will have to comply with general Twitter Ads policies, which mandates the profiles to have a profile photo, header photo, and website must be consistent with the handle’s online presence. Also, the handle’s bio must include a website that provide a valid contact info, and a disclaimer stating, “Owned by [certified entity name]”.

Under the Twitter’s political ads policy, political advertisers will be prohibited from using foreign payment method and will have to comply with Indian laws regarding disclosure and content requirements, spending limits, reporting requirements and blackout dates. Further, the advertisers must include a disclaimer “Paid for by” in their ads and the disclaimer information will have to match website or certification application.

In May 2018, Twitter has launched similar Political Campaigning Policy and Ads Transparency Centre in the United States. Now on Feb 19th, the policy was expanded to include all European Union member states, India and Australia.

In December 2018, Facebook has also launched a similar political advertising policy, requiring all political advertisers to be vetted by Facebook before they can run political ads in India. Following the announcement, the social media company has release an online searchable Ad Library for anyone to access. The Ad Library includes all political ads from a particular advertiser as well as information such as ad’s budget, number of impressions, and the targeted demographics.

In addition to the certification, all political advertisers will have to comply with general Twitter Ads policies, which mandates the profiles to have a profile photo, header photo, and website must be consistent with the handle’s online presence. Also, the handle’s bio must include a website that provide a valid contact info, and a disclaimer stating, “Owned by [certified entity name]”.

Under the Twitter’s political ads policy, political advertisers will be prohibited from using foreign payment method and will have to comply with Indian laws regarding disclosure and content requirements, spending limits, reporting requirements and blackout dates. Further, the advertisers must include a disclaimer “Paid for by” in their ads and the disclaimer information will have to match website or certification application.

In May 2018, Twitter has launched similar Political Campaigning Policy and Ads Transparency Centre in the United States. Now on Feb 19th, the policy was expanded to include all European Union member states, India and Australia.

In December 2018, Facebook has also launched a similar political advertising policy, requiring all political advertisers to be vetted by Facebook before they can run political ads in India. Following the announcement, the social media company has release an online searchable Ad Library for anyone to access. The Ad Library includes all political ads from a particular advertiser as well as information such as ad’s budget, number of impressions, and the targeted demographics.

Social media’s power to influence elections came to light after the United States Presidential elections of 2016. Post elections, a political analysis company Cambridge Analytica was accused of buying millions of Americans’ facebook data from a researcher. The company was further alleged of manipulating this data to create a fake political opinion on facebook.  

Following which, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg published a note on preparing for elections explaining steps taken by Facebook in identifying and removing fake accounts ahead of elections in countries such as France, Germany, Alabama, Mexico, Brazil, and India.

Author

Yatti Soni

Inc42 Staff

A software engineer from Amity University, Noida. After graduation, she was part of a 14 months Communication for social change & media rights fellowship - ‘Ideosync Unesco India Fellow’ (IUIF). You can write to her at [email protected]

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