Facebook announces changes to combat election meddling

Facebook rolled out another big set of changes to its platform on Friday in advance of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimon...

Posted: Apr 7, 2018 9:27 AM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 9:27 AM

Facebook rolled out another big set of changes to its platform on Friday in advance of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill next week.

The social media company will now begin labeling all political and issue ads, and showing who paid for them, and it will require anyone who wants to run a political or issue ad to verify their identity and location.

This marks an expansion of Facebook's previous plans on this front, when these measures would have applied only to political ads -- typically defined as mentioning a specific candidate -- but not to ads that only talk about hot-button issues without mentioning candidates.

Facebook says the new labeling will appear on ads later this Spring.

The ads will be put into a searchable database, which will be released in June. The database will include details on how much the ads cost and what kinds of people the advertisers were targeting. Ads will stay in the database for four years.

Facebook is also going to start verifying the people behind large Pages.

"These steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post announcing the changes.

Related: Facebook finds hundreds more accounts run by Kremlin-linked troll group

To get verified by Facebook, ad-buyers and Page administrators will have to provide the company with a government issued ID and a physical mailing address. Facebook will mail them a letter with a special code to confirm the address. Advertisers will have to tell Facebook which candidate, organization or business they're representing as well.

The Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked troll farm that has used Facebook and other social media in an attempt to meddle in U.S. politics, created Pages meant to look like they were run by real American activists.

It also ran ads, almost all of which would likely not have qualified as political ads; at least some would likely be considered issue ads, depending on how exactly Facebook defines issue advertising. The company said Friday it is working with unnamed third parties to come up with a list of "key issues," and that it will update the list over time. It says examples could include pro-life or pro-choice ads, ads relating to the Second Amendment ads, and ads on issues like public infrastructure.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would support the Honest Ads Act, a bill currently under consideration in Congress that would extend the political ad rules for TV stations and print publications to online services. Facebook had previously said it was open to regulation, but had not publicly supported the act.

"We know we were slow to pick-up foreign interference in the 2016 US elections. Today's updates are designed to prevent future abuse in elections," said Facebook ad executives Rob Goldman and Alex Himel in a separate post.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 542053

Reported Deaths: 7035
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1129221671
Ramsey46808847
Dakota41281414
Anoka37372413
Washington24322273
Stearns20596216
St. Louis16440296
Scott15511116
Wright14374124
Olmsted1258796
Sherburne1026779
Carver950443
Clay765889
Rice7432101
Blue Earth679340
Kandiyohi620379
Crow Wing594086
Chisago537648
Otter Tail533173
Benton520296
Mower446532
Winona435349
Douglas433270
Goodhue431271
Nobles396648
Morrison384559
McLeod382354
Beltrami366257
Isanti362259
Polk359166
Itasca358251
Steele348914
Becker345848
Lyon342648
Carlton323352
Freeborn320129
Pine306021
Nicollet299842
Brown290639
Mille Lacs271248
Le Sueur265422
Todd265430
Cass242426
Meeker228037
Waseca226820
Martin209629
Wabasha19793
Roseau194118
Dodge16824
Renville168043
Hubbard167841
Redwood163735
Houston161814
Cottonwood151820
Fillmore15069
Pennington148519
Chippewa143736
Faribault141719
Wadena140021
Sibley132710
Aitkin127036
Kanabec125821
Watonwan12429
Rock121018
Jackson114110
Yellow Medicine108419
Pipestone107425
Murray10149
Pope9926
Swift97518
Marshall84017
Stevens79610
Lake77819
Wilkin75612
Clearwater75514
Koochiching74912
Lac qui Parle73122
Big Stone5544
Lincoln5532
Grant5388
Norman5129
Mahnomen4898
Unassigned48178
Kittson44822
Red Lake3817
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods2932
Cook1440

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 355069

Reported Deaths: 5797
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55519598
Linn20164329
Scott18724234
Black Hawk15464306
Woodbury14787219
Johnson1386780
Dubuque13033202
Dallas1082296
Pottawattamie10621160
Story1024747
Warren548486
Clinton531189
Cerro Gordo519386
Webster505991
Sioux502973
Marshall476274
Muscatine454996
Des Moines439465
Wapello4246120
Buena Vista421140
Jasper406370
Plymouth393979
Lee366755
Marion353975
Jones292055
Henry285337
Bremer278260
Carroll277850
Crawford261139
Boone256431
Benton248955
Washington247849
Dickinson238743
Mahaska223349
Jackson217142
Kossuth211461
Clay208325
Tama206371
Delaware201039
Winneshiek192633
Page189020
Buchanan187331
Cedar182623
Fayette182641
Wright178735
Hardin178642
Hamilton177049
Harrison174673
Clayton165455
Butler161834
Mills157320
Cherokee156438
Floyd154542
Lyon153541
Poweshiek152133
Madison152019
Allamakee149051
Iowa144624
Hancock142734
Winnebago135331
Grundy134732
Cass133954
Calhoun133011
Jefferson130535
Emmet127140
Shelby126637
Louisa126149
Appanoose125847
Sac125719
Mitchell125241
Union123732
Chickasaw122015
Humboldt117926
Guthrie116728
Franklin112421
Palo Alto109622
Howard102622
Unassigned10030
Montgomery99737
Clarke98023
Keokuk94430
Monroe93228
Ida88533
Adair84032
Pocahontas83021
Monona80530
Davis79824
Greene76310
Lucas74822
Osceola73816
Worth7008
Taylor65012
Fremont60410
Decatur5889
Van Buren55318
Ringgold53322
Wayne51823
Audubon4939
Adams3264
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