Facebook started verifying the identities of all parties interested in running political ads through its platform in the United States, the company said Monday, some three weeks after pledging to implement the procedure meant to make sponsored political content on its service more transparent and authentic as the fight against fake news wages on. Page administrators looking to be authorized to run political ads on Facebook will have to present the company with a government-issued ID, as well as their residential mailing address. Every submission will be verified manually, with interested advertisers being mailed a unique access code they'll have to input into Facebook in order to complete the procedure. Advertisers will also have to disclose who's paying for any promotions they're pushing to Facebook, the company said, without clarifying whether those disclosures will be verified.
The authorization process is initially debuting in the U.S. but is planned to be available on a global level in the future. Advertisers looking to ensure they're complying with all of Facebook's requirements are encouraged to take a Blueprint Training Course which the company designed specifically for them, with the online service being accessible through the banner below. The overall move is a continuation of Facebook's fight against misinformation started following the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. which saw certain foreign agents attempting to meddle with the country's democratic process through a systematic proliferation of fake news. This February, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted thirteen Russian individuals and three Russian entities for seeking to target Americans with foreign propaganda aimed against then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Facebook's issues with misinformation recently took a back seat to the revelation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which saw an American political consulting firm improperly harvest data of up to 87 million Facebook users in 2014, having later been accused of using that information to aid the Trump campaign during the same election, though it repeatedly dismissed such accusations. Besides verifying political advertisers, Facebook is presently also relying on fact checkers to combat fake news, albeit with limited success, as per its own admission.