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Facebook and Twitter attempt to bolster transparency tools as midterm elections approach

As the Midterm elections approach, both Facebook and Twitter announce bolstered ad transparency provisions for their users. / Mirah Curzer via Unsplash

Both Facebook and Twitter announced today a series of transparency features that they hope will boost trust in the social platforms and deter bad actors.

Twitter announced in a series of tweets the launch of a ‘political campaigning policy,’ that will show anyone, regardless of whether they have an account or not, billing information, ad spend, demographic data, and impression data.

In a more-detailed blog post, Twitter also said that information will include whether an advocacy group or other entity posting political ads on the platform were officially endorsed by a candidate.

Facebook, as rumored from earlier this week, released two added measures to a plan it laid out in May to be more transparent with any advertising displayed on its platforms, a follow-up to a post the site made in May specifically for midterm elections. This new announcement applies to all Facebook Pages.

Included in Facebook’s new features: the ability for users on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger or any of its partner platforms to view all ads as page posts, including creative and copy; and more page information, including recent name changes and page creation date.

Rob Leathern and Emma Rodgers, who wrote the Facebook announcement said: “These steps are just the start — we’re always looking for more ways to improve. By shining a bright light on all ads, as well as the Pages that run them, we’ll make it easier to root out abuse – helping to ensure that bad actors are held accountable for the ads they run.”

Although Facebook had been the main target of scrutiny by government officials because of malpractice by Cambridge Analytica last year, both social platforms have looked to shield themselves from further scrutiny from damaging false advertising and 'fake news' ahead of the US midterm elections.

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