Political Campaigns

Tips on Use of Social Media

April, 17th, 2019

By Anna Chertkova

 Facebook strengthened its rules on political advertising in Europe under pressure from EU regulators to do more to “ensure higher standards of responsibility and transparency”.

 All things considered, the new guidelines are easy to follow to render your political campaigns smart, simple & sustainable.

 Here is the whole deal in 5Ws and 1 important How on use of Social Media for successful political campaigns.

Who: Facebook experts

In the run up to the European Parliamentary Elections in May, Richard Allan, VP Global Policy Solutions at Facebook, explained how ads with political content will from now on work on social media.

His explication on Ads Transparency in the EU was published on March, 28th in Facebook Newsroom. Check it out for first-hand guidelines.

What: new tools to consider before set-up of political campaign at social

Facebook is introducing new tools to help protect “the integrity of elections — preventing online advertising from being used for foreign interference, and increasing transparency around all forms of political and issue advertising”.

That is, anyone running political ads related the EU Parliamentary Elections will be asked to provide documented proof to the social network that they are located in the country where the ads will be targeting Facebook users.

Also, all ads related to politics and issues both on Facebook and Instagram in the EU will be labeled, including a “Paid for by” tag.

An Ad Library that will store for seven years all the ads that have been classified as relating to politics or issues is going live. Facebook says the Ad Library will also have an API allowing more in-depth analysis of the data rendering it also a publicly searchable archive.

When: effective immediately and ongoing

Effective from March, 29th, 2019 advertisers will only be able to post a political or issue-based ad related to the European Parliament elections on the social network after the social media giant performed all the necessary checks. The company first announced the changes at the end of January.

N.B.: Facebook will block ads that fail to comply from mid-April.

Where: globally, with country-specific instructions

Facebook toughened its rules on political advertising in Europe last Friday under pressure from EU regulators to safeguard the ballot across 27 EU nations on May, 26th.

The ad transparency rules & country specific instructions – already in place in the United States, Britain, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Israel – will be rolled out globally by late June, Reuters quoted a source in the company.

To see the country-specific instructions, select the country you reside in and plan to run ads in following this link.

Citing Reuters, “Issue categories differ by country. In Europe, they will be: political values, immigration, security and foreign policy, civil and social rights, environmental politics and the economy.”

Why: committing to transparency, accountability and responsibility to bar abuse

New ads transparency rules follow severe criticism of Facebook for not doing more to protect the integrity of elections and political campaigns in countries around the world.

“We believe that more transparency will lead to increased accountability and responsibility over time — not just for Facebook but for advertisers as well. We’re investing heavily in more people and better technology to proactively identify abuse,” said Richard Allan, Vice-President, Global Policy Solutions at Facebook.

Facebook is, thus, the first social network publicly declaring its intention to invest into better technology to protect its users – politicians or nor – from abuse and defamation.

How: guidelines for advertisers

The social media giant aims to combat disinformation in two ways: by introducing an authorization system for advertisers to run ads related to the European Parliamentary elections in their country and labelling political and issue ads.

First thing to remember is that from now on advertisers will need to submit identification documents proving they are in the state where the ads will appear. Technical checks will then be used by Facebook to confirm the identity and location of the advertiser. The company VP Global Policy Solutions invited all political campaigns to start the ads authorization process immediately.

“We will be using a combination of automated systems and user reporting to enforce this policy,” explained Mr. Allan. “We recognize that some people can try and work around any system but we are confident this will be a real barrier for anyone thinking of using our ads to interfere in an election from outside of a country.”

In the second place, “To increase transparency, all ads related to politics and issues on Facebook and Instagram in the EU must be clearly labeled — including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the ad. This means that you can see who is paying for the ad and, for any business or organization, their contact details.”

Keep in mind that anyone clicking on the label of your ad will have access to more information about your political campaign at social: for example, campaign budget associated with an individual ad, how many people saw it and their age, location and gender.

So, Facebook appears to be the first social media to set a coherent social media’s election plan to bring transparency and compliance into the Internet laws of the jungle.