Social networking giant Facebook says it will expand its tools and policies for electoral and political adverts to more countries across the globe, including Zambia and South Africa.
This, as the two Southern African nations prepare for elections in 2021.
South Africa will hold local government elections on Wednesday, 27 October, while the Zambian general elections will be held on 12 August.
In a statement, Facebook says starting this week, it will launch enforcement on ads about elections or politics in Zambia and SA.
This, according to the company, means anyone running ads about political figures, political parties, the election or “get out the vote” campaigns must go through the ad authorisation process by verifying their identity with a government-issued photo ID, confirming their location in those countries.
Furthermore, advertisers will be required to provide more information about the person or organisation responsible for the ad to place “paid for by” disclaimers on the ads.
This includes any person creating, modifying, publishing, or pausing ads that reference ads about elections or politics.
Ads will also be entered into Facebook’s ad library for seven years, according to the social media company.
Facebook head of public policy in Southern Africa Nomonde Gongxeka-Seopa says: “We believe that more transparency leads to increased accountability and responsibility for both Facebook and advertisers, which is good for people and businesses alike. Political ads play an important role in every election. Our work to help protect elections is never done, but we believe changes like these continue to move us in the right direction.”
According to Facebook, people have indicated they want the option to see fewer political ads on their Facebook and Instagram feeds.
To enable the electoral and political ads controls, people can adjust their ad topic preferences:
Visit ad preferences then click ad topics.
Under the list of ad topics, there’s a list of topics including social issues, elections or politics.
Across from social issues, elections or politics, the user can click on “see fewer”.