Facebook Russian Ads Disclosure Sparks Controversy

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Regulation Afoot

So Facebook and other tech companies have been able to avoid majority of regulations in the United States. This is despite their heavy role in our society. Concerns about the manipulation of political advertising by foreign entities is likely to increase government and regulatory scrutiny.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said that there may be a need to introduce new requirements for social media platforms running political ads.

“An American can still figure out what content is being used on TV advertising. … But in social media there’s no such requirement,” Warner said, according to CNN. “There may be a reform process here. I actually think the social media companies would not oppose, because I think Americans, particularly when it comes to elections, ought to be able to know if there is foreign-sponsored content coming into their electoral process.”

Howard said the social platforms either need to come up with their own solution. If they cannot, they should be prepared to face government intervention.

Facebook’s Opinion

Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, Rob Sherman, said that the company does not disclose advertising details. He said it’s because it considers ad campaign information to be confidential.

“Advertisers consider their ad creatives and their ad targeting strategy to be competitively sensitive and confidential,” said Rob Sherman. “In many cases, they’ll ask us, as a condition of running ads on Facebook, not to disclose those details about how they’re running campaigns on our service. From our perspective, it’s confidential information of these advertisers.”

They may have to change their strategy for political ads though. Unless our social platforms find a way to provide ad disclosure for political ads, we open the door to be weakened by other governments time and time again.

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