Skip to Content
Election 2020

Facebook is making it harder to use ads to mess with the 2020 election

August 28, 2019
Facebook's logo taking up an entire open laptop screen
Facebook's logo taking up an entire open laptop screenAssociated Press

Facebook will demand more information about organizations seeking to run political ads starting in mid-September.

Such as? Businesses and nonprofits will have to provide a tax-registered organization identification number, while government advertisers will have to provide a web domain or email address ending in .gov or .mil. Parties and political action committees will be required to hand over their Federal Election Commission identification number, Facebook said in a blog post.

Record-keeping: Facebook already requires some information from organizations seeking to run ads on politics in the US, including identification to confirm who they are and where they are located. They also must place a “paid for” disclaimer on ads. However, this system has repeatedly been shown to be unfit. Vice magazine managed to buy ads “paid for” by Mike Pence and ISIS, while Mother Jones showed that the disclaimers are lost when content is shared: a huge loophole.

The bigger picture: Facebook was forced to act as evidence amassed that it had displayed ads during the 2016 US Presidential election campaign and the UK's EU referendum paid for by Russian groups trying to sow discord. We still don’t fully understand the impact of Facebook advertising on elections, and it still hasn’t released data to researchers trying to establish the facts, despite promising to back in April.

Sign up here for our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.