Facebook will now clearly label political ads

In an effort to increase ad transparency, Facebook announced that it will clearly label all political and issue advertisements on the platform and authorize the groups behind large Pages.

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 8:13 AM
Updated: Apr 9, 2018 8:16 AM

Facebook announced Friday that it is introducing new rules for Facebook Pages — rules that, had they been in place earlier, could have stopped Russian trolls posing as Americans from wreaking havoc on the platform in the lead up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Unlike Facebook profiles, Facebook Pages can essentially be run anonymously. Pages can gather millions of followers without Facebook users ever knowing who runs them.

But now, the company said Friday, people who run pages with "large numbers of followers" will need to be verified.

"This will make it much harder for people to administer a Page using a fake account, which is strictly against our policies," the company said.

The company didn't say what qualified as a large number, nor did it say if Facebook users would be able to see who runs pages with a big following.

Related: Kremlin ties to pages deleted by Facebook should have been obvious months ago

For years, the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked troll group, ran pages meant to look like they were created by American activists from all over the political spectrum. Some of the pages amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. One, Blacktivist, a fake Black Lives Matter page, had more followers than the movement's official page.

In theory, had Facebook's proposed rules been in place in 2016, the social media company would have sought to verify the identity and location of the person running the Blacktivist page.

If Facebook found that the profile behind the page was fake -- using a stolen identity for instance -- the people controlling that profile would no longer be able to post on the page.

What's not clear from Friday's announcement is whether proving you're a real person is enough to pass Facebook's litmus test. Is it going to be against Facebook policy to run a Black Lives Matter page if you're a Russian living in St. Petersburg, for instance? Facebook hasn't said.

Facebook did not provide any additional clarity when asked by CNN, but said it was working on the authorization process and plan to roll it out later this year.

Related: Facebook announces changes to combat election meddling

Writing about the new rules on Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckbrberg acknowledged, "these steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did."

And there are potential downsides to this change. Anonymity online allowed Russian trolls to run fake Facebook pages for nefarious purposes, but anonymity also gives people the opportunity to speak out and organize who otherwise may not feel comfortable doing so.

People living in totalitarian countries where dissent can be dangerous, for instance, or workers in the U.S. who want to organize around a cause that their employer doesn't support, might be less inclined to use Facebook to do so if they know they have to reveal their identity to someone, even if it is just Facebook.

The move could have a chilling effect on activism, Micah White, one of the founders of the Occupy Wall Street movement, told CNN on Friday.

"American activism is being pinched on both sides. On the one hand Russian infiltration that delegitimizes protests and on the other hand by efforts by social media companies to make their networks less useable for social protests," he said.

The solutions to the platform's problems are often complicated, with similar potential downsides even for much-needed fixes.

Earlier this week, CNN reported that the Internet Research Agency connections of some pages Facebook just removed on Tuesday should have been obvious months ago. But Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, told CNN that the question of when to delete such pages is a complicated one.

Comparing it to a law enforcement sting, Gleicher said that if the company were to remove each individual page as its ties to the Internet Research Agency were confirmed, it would risk tipping off the troll group off and giving it a chance to try to obscure its connection to other accounts it might be running.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62856

Reported Deaths: 3032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11433443
Cuyahoga8786393
Hamilton6563207
Lucas2889305
Marion274039
Montgomery237835
Summit2299209
Pickaway221641
Mahoning1907239
Butler176747
Columbiana135060
Stark1196114
Lorain109769
Trumbull103277
Warren94525
Clark79310
Delaware67515
Fairfield64317
Tuscarawas60110
Lake57022
Belmont56722
Medina56632
Licking56012
Miami50331
Portage48759
Wood47451
Clermont4537
Ashtabula44544
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3635
Allen34841
Greene3229
Mercer29510
Erie26722
Holmes2575
Darke25326
Huron2382
Madison2139
Ottawa16624
Sandusky15715
Washington14420
Coshocton1413
Ross1393
Crawford1385
Putnam13415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Athens1111
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1052
Muskingum961
Union931
Monroe8917
Hancock851
Lawrence820
Preble821
Hocking809
Clinton791
Guernsey793
Shelby744
Williams742
Logan681
Fulton660
Scioto650
Carroll643
Ashland632
Wyandot625
Brown601
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland491
Van Wert451
Perry411
Seneca402
Henry330
Paulding280
Jackson270
Pike270
Adams251
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
67° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Sunday starts wet, ends dry
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events