In a bid to curb foreign interference during upcoming elections in 2019, Facebook has extended its new political advertising policy — which it originally enforced in the US, UK, Brazil and, later, Ireland and India — to further countries.
According to Reuters, which broke the news, starting on the 16th of January, 2019 in Nigeria — exactly one month before general elections — only advertisers located in the country will be able to run political ads.
The same will be enforced in Ukraine, in February, and the European Union where elections will be taking place later in the year.
In addition to geo-blocking political ad campaigns in these countries, Facebook will also keep a searchable archive of approved ads.
The archive, which will be made available for 7 years after verification, will include details like contact information (with official regulatory certificates), total spend and targeted audience metrics among others. Facebook director of product management, Rob Leathern says this is a key part of fighting election interference.
The measures are necessary, following revelations that many third-party groups had used Facebook’s ad platform to sow political discord in the lead up to the 2016 US presidential election.
Further reports at the time hinted at similar interference during the 2015 Nigeria general elections.
From all indications, Facebook could also apply this policy to other political issues besides elections. In the US, where it pioneered the policy, the public archive includes ads about issues such as climate change and immigration policy that do not directly affect ballot measure.
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