Facebook announces new disclosure rules for political issue ads

Yolanda Curtis
April 9, 2018

"So we have now disabled this feature", Mike Schroepfer, Facebook's chief technology officer, said in a blog post published Wednesday. Numerous changes outlined Wednesday were an attempt to limit the collection and use of such information, even though Zuckerberg reiterated several times that Facebook never "sold" personal information to third parties. He has spent more than eight years covering the ways that tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google navigate the corridors of government - and the regulations that sometimes result.

Under fire after political research firm Cambridge Analytica used data acquired from an app to swing elections in US, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday said he was putting in place a new policy to prevent interference in future elections.

Facebook is also going to start verifying the people behind large Pages.


The EU and Facebook will be looking at what changes the social media giant needs to make to better protect users and how the USA company must adapt to new EU data protection rules.

The social media company will now begin labeling all political and issue ads, and showing who paid for them, and it will require anyone who wants to run a political or issue ad to verify their identity and location.

Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing will focus on the Facebook's "use and protection of user data".


There has been no official announcement about the new delete feature, and there's a sense that Facebook is reacting to crisis after crisis in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal with slap-dash measures on an ad-hoc basis. Facebook's subsidiary and instant messaging platform WhatsApp rolled out a similar feature called "Delete for everyone" in November 2017. Facebook says Zuckerberg and other executives won't use it until everyone else can, too.

Imagine not being able to see messages that were sent to you, taking regular screenshots for, well, you know, just in case you need them later, and the fact that it promotes sharing of sensitive messages.

Privacy advocates have always been critical of Facebook's penchant for pushing people to share more and more information, often through pro-sharing default options.


In making the changes - for which the social media giant said it would hire new staff - Zuckerberg threw his support behind the Honest Ads Act, a measure authored by Sens. One of the lawmakers set to grill Zuckerberg is Sen. "That raises the question of whether this was a breach of user trust", the report added. But then he rather hastily added, "But look, it's not good".

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