A top Facebook Inc executive said the company’s strategy to distinguish between journalism and political content will go into effect in the “coming days.”
Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, Campbell Brown, said in an updated blog post that the social-media giant would divide its political ads archive into two sections — one for ads promoting news stories about politics and one for ads promoting political candidates and issues.
The new approach follows weeks of criticism from publishers who argued that Facebook’s decision to categorise promotion of their news articles as political content would serve to further confuse readers about what is fact and what is opinion. The announcement is the latest step by the California-based company to combat manipulation of its platform in the wake of revelations that Russian operatives spread misinformation on the site to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
Under Facebook’s political transparency rules, which were launched last month, any ads with political content will be placed in an archive that includes the identities of who’s paying for the ads and the demographics of who’s seen the ads for as long as seven years. Advertisers must also go through a verification process establishing their location in the US and their identity.
For now, Facebook plans to put verified media advertisers who are members of the Local Media Consortium, the Local Media Association, the Local Independent Online News and the National Association of Broadcasters into the separate news section in the archive. Ads bought by members of other trade groups including “all major national publications” will also be placed in the separate archive, said Facebook spokesman Adam Isserlis.
“Our ultimate goal is for the Promoted News section of the archive to reflect the broader set of news outlets running ads on Facebook that contain political content,” Isserlis said in
a statement. “We’re working closely with news partners to develop a more inclusive pro- cess for determining which pages belong in the Promoted News section, and we are looking forward to publicly sharing more details on that process later this summer,” he said.