Facebook has said it will not alter its policies relating to political ads for the upcoming midterm elections.
Pressure to protect the integrity of political discourse in the U.S. has been building since news of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Now, Facebook has decided to maintain its position regarding political ads. According to Facebook, users are served ads that are “clear” and “frequently asked for,” and the advertising limits in the Facebook advertising policies have remained for the “long term.”
This isn’t to say Facebook is unfazed by political interference. Last week, the company revealed it was spending $5 million in ads ahead of the November election.
Reuters previously reported that the Russian agents seeking to stoke tension between liberals and conservatives had set up six-figure “micro ad campaigns” to spread the image of “candidate” Hillary Clinton as the villain on social media platforms.
Like the 2016 ad scandal, the recent scenario doesn’t seem particularly likely to have the same effect on the U.S. electorate. In the 2016 election, Russia tried to sway public opinion through paid propaganda on Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media platforms. According to the company, roughly 100,000 advertisers bought more than 3 million ads that would go unseen by other users on social media platforms.
According to the company, about 250 people work on safety and security issues, 2,000 of which are dedicated to Russian interference.
Facebook recently improved its ad reporting controls, allowing users to see exactly where their ads appear. The transparency feature also allows users to block candidates or causes from their newsfeed. As a result, the company’s ad transparency policies have seen an 80 percent uptick in public disclosures and active removal of political ads, Facebook reported.
Facebook is working with election officials from around the country to prepare for the upcoming elections, but many experts have said the tech company has been slow to meet the “stark and urgent threat of foreign manipulation.”