Facebook to require verified identities for political advertisements

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Washington: Facebook announced Friday it will require political ads on its platform to state who is paying for the message and would verify the identity of the payer, in a bid to curb outside election interference.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the change will mean “we will hire thousands of more people” to get the new system in place ahead of US midterm elections in November. “We’re starting this in the US and expanding to the rest of the world in the coming months.

“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.” A separate Facebook statement said the changes would help improve transparency and accountability of the network around political campaigns.

Facebook made the announcement as Zuckerberg prepared to appear before Congress next week to answer questions about the harvesting of personal data on 87 million users by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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