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Senior Reporter at The Drum

Facebook unveils measures to limit foreign electoral interference in Singapore

Facebook unveils measures to limit foreign electoral interference in Singapore

Facebook has rolled out various measures to ensure transparency in political advertising on its platforms ahead of the general elections in Singapore.

Much like measures introduced ahead of elections in the the UK and US, under the rules any person or organisation who wants to run ads on either Facebook or Instagram relating to social issues, elections or politics in Singapore will need to confirm their identity – using documents such as a passport or identity card – as well as their location, to prove they are based in the country.

The advertisers will further be required to disclose who is responsible for the advertisement, and provide their name, their organisation or a Facebook page they run within the 'Paid for By' disclaimer of such advertisements.

Contact information such as a phone number, email address or website must also be provided.

These advertisements will then be placed in an ‘Ad Library’ for seven years, where members of the public can also see how much was spent as well as how many people viewed it.

Facebook’s public policy director for global elections Katie Harbath said: “These requirements hold advertisers accountable for the ads they run on Facebook and Instagram.This authorisation process is also required for those who want to run advertisements relating to some social issues, such as civil and social rights, immigration, crime as well as political values and governance.

"These particular issues were decided based on external consultation, as well as Facebook’s internal research which found these subjects were matters frequently debated by Singaporeans on Facebook."

The moves come after Facebook committed to making sure that fake news doesn’t impact the elections, by coming down on political advertising and removing bad actors and fake accounts. It is further making its transparency tools for political ads globally available, more than a year after rolling out the first iteration of the tool in the US following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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