Facebook, Twitter launch new ad transparency tools

Facebook, Twitter launch new ad transparency tools

- in Business
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MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook is pulling back the curtain on its advertising business with new tools that will show users specific details on every ad running on the social network.

The company’s 2 billion users can now go to any Facebook Page and click on a button in the upper right corner called “Info and Ads.” From there, Facebook will show the page’s history, including any name changes and every advertisement it is currently running on Facebook, Instagram or the greater network, including the creative copy and a link to the website the advertiser wants people to visit.

The changes offer the public an unprecedented look at what ads are being shown on Facebook. Previously, only Facebook had this information.

The move comes with the U.S. midterm elections just months away. Facebook came under widespread criticism for the spread of fake news and divisive political propaganda spread by foreign agents on the platform during the 2016 presidential election, a problem the company initially downplayed.

Image: Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg Addresses The U.S. Conference Of Mayors In Boston
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors about how communities can use technology to grow and thrive on June 8, 2018 in Boston.Scott Eisen / Getty Images file

“We underinvested in prevention,” Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said Thursday at a meeting with reporters at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. “We underinvested in proactively policing the ecosystem that we have built.”

The changes announced Thursday mark a “really big shift at Facebook and how we think about responsibility as a company,” she added.

Facebook is also giving the public a deeper look inside its advertising operation. The company will disclose how much political advertisers spend on their ads and allow people to search to see what ads are shown in a particular country.

Minutes after Facebook’s announcement, Twitter released details about its new Advertising Transparency Center, which will allow the public to see all ads being run on the service, how long the ads are running and provide a different “look and feel” for political ads so they’re easier to distinguish.

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