A little while ago Facebook announced it was making changes to the way people could buy political ads in the UK, showcasing who paid from them and in the process highlight whether they had any ulterior motives. Those plans were put on hold on 7th November after Facebook failed to account for the fact people can and will lie when given the opportunity, but today the revised rules have come into force.
The premise of the new guidelines is essentially the same, with Facebook trying to show itself as a transparent company that cares what happens on its platform - even if its actions might sometimes suggest otherwise. Political adverts that "reference political figures, political parties, elections, legislation before Parliament and [Brexit]." will have a tag that you can click to see who paid for it, how much they spent, how many other people have seen it, and any other ads the financier is involved with.
Flaws had been found in the original system that could let unscrupulous individuals lie about their identities, but those are all dealt with according to the social network. Now anyone hoping to buy political advertising will need to confirm their identity by submitting ID that will then be verified by a third party. Facebook will then send the buyer a code through the physical post, ensuring they actually have a UK-based address.
Facebook will also review what people type in the 'paid for' box, so you won't end up with someone buying adverts and then claiming to Cambridge Analytica, Mike Pence, the Islamic State, or Nigel Farage's mum. Unless Nigel Farage's mum really is the one doing the spending, of course.
Facebook's statement said:
"Enforcement on these ads will never be perfect, but we'll continue to work on improving our systems and technology to prevent abuse."