Facebook launches political ad transparency tool in India

New Delhi: Aiming to bring more transparency to ads related to politics in India ahead of the general elections, Facebook on Thursday launched a tool that will allow its users to know the people behind a particular political ad on the platform and how much they spent for it.

Starting on Thursday, users will be able to see political ads with “Published by” or “Paid for by” disclaimers, Facebook said.

For the disclaimer, authorised advertisers can name themselves, a page they run or another organisation as the entity behind the ad.

If they name another organisation, the social media giant will also require additional credentials – like a phone number, email and website or a Media Certification and Monitoring Committee Certificate from India’s Elections Commission.

“This is to help make sure the organisation cited is authentic,” said Shivnath Thukral, Facebook’s Public Policy Director for India.

Facebook first announced these plans back in December, when advertisers were able to begin authorisations on mobile – verifying their identity and location to run political ads.

While these measures are still voluntary for advertisers, enforcement of these new features will start on February 21, Facebook said.

When a person clicks on the disclaimer, they will be taken to a searchable Ad Library where they can see the ad’s creative, start and end date, and performance data, including range of impressions, range of spend, and information about who saw the ad, like age, gender and location across India.

The disclaimer credentials will also appear in the Ad Library, Facebook said.