Technology

Facebook ramps up efforts to protect EU elections

Political advertisers will undergo tighter controls in the lead-up to European Union elections in May.

Facebook is bolstering its efforts to prevent interference during upcoming European Union elections with a new set of tools it hopes will stop adverts from being misused.

With the election due to take place in May, the social network has said any advertisers in the EU will undergo tighter checks, which will require documents confirming their identity and location to be submitted, amid fears of foreign interference.

The company said all adverts relating to politics and issues on both Facebook and Instagram in the EU must be clearly labelled, including who funded the advert.

Any advertising not properly registered will be blocked from mid-April, the social network warned.

“These changes will not prevent abuse entirely,” admitted Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of global policy solutions.

“We’re up against smart, creative and well-funded adversaries who change their tactics as we spot abuse.

“But we believe that they will help prevent future interference in elections on Facebook.”

The company is also opening up its Ad Library, allowing people to find out more information about political adverts, such as the number of times they have been viewed and demographics about the audience reached.

Tech giants have come under pressure to improve their platforms, with multiple cases of groups attempting to use the likes of Facebook and Twitter to meddle in a range of issues.

Facebook has become more transparent about its approach, regularly releasing details about crackdowns on so-called “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” from countries including Russia and Iran.

In February, Twitter launched its own political advert transparency tool, while Microsoft started alerting think tanks and non-profit organisations across Europe which it detected as being targets of cyber attackers.

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