Facebook Makes Its Political Ads Transparency Tools Mandatory in Singapore

The country’s next general parliamentary election will take place in 2020

People must confirm their identity before being allowed to run political ads Facebook

Facebook extended its policies on ads regarding social issues, elections or politics to Singapore, with that country’s next general parliamentary election coming up next year.

The social network revealed in June that its transparency tools regarding political ads were being expanded globally, and using those tools is now a requirement in Singapore.

Mirroring the requirements of other countries where the tools are already in place, anyone in Singapore wishing to run ads about social issues (civil and social rights, immigration, crime, or political values and governance), elections or politics must first confirm their identity and location and disclose who is responsible for the ad.

A person, page or organization can appear in the “Paid for by” disclaimer that accompanies those ads.

Additional information is also required when pages or organizations appear in the disclaimer, including phone number, email and website.

Ads from authorized advertisers will be stored in Facebook’s Ad Library for seven years, along with their disclaimer information.

People can go to Ad Library to get information such as an ad’s range of impressions, how much was spent on the ad and demographic details on people who saw the ad, including age, gender and location.

Public policy director Katie Harbath wrote in a blog post, “We know we can’t protect elections on our own, which is why we offer access to the Ad Library API, which we built expressly for researchers, academics, journalists and the public to study political advertising. With today’s news, the results on API queries in Singapore will now be more robust as advertisers are required to authorize and add disclaimers. In addition, we will introduce the Ad Library Report within the next few weeks, which provides people who aren’t as technical with similar information about ads related to social issues, elections or politics.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.