Australians will soon head to the polls for their country’s federal election, and Facebook outlined the steps it is taking to ensure that its platform is not maliciously used to influence those votes.
Director of policy for Australia and New Zealand Mia Garlick revealed in a Newsroom post that starting on the day the election date is set, electoral ads purchased from outside of Australia will be banned until after the votes, as will foreign ads that include political slogans or party logos.
The restriction applies to ads that contain references to politicians, parties or election suppression.
Garlick also pointed to last week’s updates to its Ad Library feature, which included: Displaying all active ads being run by a page, and not just political ads (information that was previously available in pages’ Info and Ads sections); including more information about pages, such as the date they were created, previous merges with other pages and name changes; disclosing the primary country locations of people who manage pages with large audiences or that have run political or issue ads; and displaying ad spend information for political and issue ads in Ads Library (it had previously been accessible via Ads Library Report).
Facebook reached a third-party fact-checking partnership with international news agency Agence France-Presse covering Australia, and Garlick noted that once a story is rated as false, it is downgraded in News Feed, which reduced its future views by an average of over 80 percent.
She concluded, “Through this work, we want to make it harder to interfere with elections on the platform and easier for people to make their voices legitimately heard in the political process. We have dedicated global teams working around the clock on every upcoming election around the world, including the federal election in Australia.”