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Facebook will use direct mail to verify identities of political ad buyers


By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

February 18, 2018 | 3 min read

Facebook plans to send postcards to verify the identity anyone buying a political advert in the US.


Facebook will use direct mail to verify identities of political ad buyers

As reported by Reuters, the postcards will contain a specific code which Facebook which will need before allowing an advert that mentions a specific candidate running for a federal office to run.

“If you run an ad mentioning a candidate, we are going to mail you a postcard and you will have to use that code to prove you are in the United States,” Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global director of policy programs, told a room of state election officials this week.

Though Harbath admitted “it won’t solve everything,” it will go some way to placating officials after revelations that up to $100,000 of Facebook ad spend was generated by Russian-linked accounts during the presidential race.

The review by the social network unearthed an additional $50,000 of political ad spending linked to Russian accounts in the review.

However, the new policy won’t extend the those buying ‘issue-based’ ads.

Facebook’s analysis last year found that the accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages on issues such as gun ownership, immigration and LGBT and race issues.

Facebook has already invested in machine learning technology to limit spamming and domain-spoofing, as well as looking at ways to reduce the number of posts from ‘clickbait sources’ and block off advertising from pages that repeatedly share stories marked as false.

Reuters added that Facebook did not confirm when it would implement the process, only that it would be in use before this year’s mid-term congressional elections in November.

Last month, Facebook said it would ramp up an investigation into whether the UK’s vote to leave the European Union might have been influenced by Russian propaganda propagated by the social network.

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