Comment on Facebook's political ads announcement

June 17, 2020




Social media giant Facebook has announced a series of changes to political adverts following sustained criticism.

The platform will allow people in the United States and other countries to opt out of viewing social issue, electoral or political ads from candidates or political action committees in their Facebook or Instagram feeds.

There has been widespread concern about targeted political advertising on the site and a lack of transparency about who has paid for adverts.

Facebook said it will now show who paid for a political ad even after it has been shared by another user, and will begin tracking spend on a candidate-by-candidate basis.

The social media platform also said it is taking further steps to prevent foreign interference ahead of this year’s US Presidential election.

Facebook is launching the ‘largest voting information effort in US history’, claiming it will help millions of Americans register to vote with a new voting information centre.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, today said the company had pulled ‘a number’ of Donald Trump campaign ads.

The Open Knowledge Foundation has been campaigning against the spread of disinformation online and has called for greater transparency on political ads.

Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said: “The public has demanded greater transparency around political adverts, and it’s welcome that Facebook is listening to what people are saying.

“Giving users the option to opt-out of political ads is a positive step and the further measures to prevent the spread of disinformation are welcome.

“But it remains the case that Facebook is still prepared to accept money for ads which could contain false information, and we now have an inconsistent approach following Twitter’s decision to ban political ads.

“Facebook needs to be open about how the new opt-out system is performing, and full transparency about its voting information centre is vital, given it will make the platform even more influential.

“Ultimately the concern remains that Facebook is still able to self-regulate, which is why analogue electoral laws in the US, UK and the EU need to be updated for the digital age.”



Contact: Alan Roden at or +44 (0)7753 904 531


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