But the tighter rules still leave some holes that could be easily exploited.
To obtain a “Confirmed Organization” label, advertisers will need to provide a US address, phone number, business email, business website and one of the following: a tax-registered organization identification number, a government website domain that matches an email ending in .gov or .mil, or a Federal Election Commission identification number.
Advertisers who don’t have or don’t want to submit such credentials will be able to alternatively submit some basic information about their organization like addresses, emails and website, or rely solely on the page administrator’s legal name, though the organization will be ineligible to use a registered organization name in their disclaimers or to receive a “Confirmed Organization” label.
The new policies are aimed at curbing political advertisers’ attempts to mask their identities or impersonate others. In some cases, Facebook told CNN Business, it saw advertisers identifying themselves merely as “concerned citizen” instead of using their organization’s name or registered ID.
“While the authorization process won’t be perfect, it will help us confirm the legitimacy of an organization and provide people with more details about who’s behind the ads they are seeing,” Facebook public policy director Katie Harbath and product manager Sarah Schiff wrote. “There are a number of cases where advertisers have attempted to put misleading ‘Paid for by’ disclaimers on their ads.”
But it’s not clear whether the new rules would prevent a group or person from simply registering as a company, getting a tax identification number and going forward with their advertisements without ever having to really tell Facebook users who they truly are and what their motivation is. In response to questions about the potential loopholes, Facebook told CNN Business the additional information will be vetted by a mix of automated and human reviewers and that it is working with governments and watchdogs to bolster election security.
The new rules will be put into effect in mid-September, and if an advertiser doesn’t provide the new information by mid-October, Facebook said, it will pause an organization’s ads.