(Reuters) – Facebook said on Tuesday that it would require British political adverts posted on its pages to carry disclaimers and identity flags, in an attempt to crack down on the spread of misinformation.
A Facebook address sign is seen at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Britains parliament has called for tech firms such as Facebook to be made liable for disseminating misleading political information and targeting citizens using data manipulation, in the wake of seismic political shifts such as Britains vote to leave the European Union in 2016.
Facebook was heavily criticized in the United States for a lax approach to fake news reports and disinformation, which many believe affected voting in the 2016 presidential election, won by Donald Trump.
Advertisers who mention political figures, material or parties will be obliged to provide evidence of their identity and location and state on Facebook who is paying for the advertisement, the firm said.
“We see this as an important part of ensuring electoral integrity and helping people understand who they are engaging with,” it said in a statement, adding that the move was a “significant change” for those who place adverts on the site.
The information on the advert will be stored by Facebook for up to seven years.
“By having people verify who they are, we believe it will help prevent abuse,” Facebook added.
Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Kevin Liffey
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