Facebook is rolling out a pair of verification policies meant to “support positive discourse and prevent interference” in elections, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Friday.
Moving forward, only verified advertisers — those who have confirmed their identity and location with Facebook administrators — will be able to run political or “issue” ads, according to a post from Zuckerberg. The site will also begin labeling and revealing funding sources for political ads, starting in the U.S. and eventually expanding to the rest of the world, the post says. The social network is also working on a tool that would let users see all the ads run by a specific account, and even search an archive of old political ads.
A similar but separate policy will require administrators of large pages to be verified, which will “make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way,” Zuckerberg writes.
Facebook will hire thousands of people to carry out the two new initiatives, which Zuckerberg says are meant to combat the kind of activity that allowed for Russian interference leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. With important elections on the horizon in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, India and Pakistan, he writes, correcting such problems is a top priority.
“These steps by themselves won’t stop all people trying to game the system,” Zuckerberg writes. “But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads.”