Facebook works to improve ad transparency after supposed Russian interference in 2016 election

Facebook said it would hire 1,000 people to help review and remove ads and make the advertising it sells more transparent after $100,000 in Russian-backed ads were purchased in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

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In a blog post, Joel Kaplan, Facebook's VP Global Public Policy, added details to the steps CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined last week.

Kaplan wrote that while Facebook uses "both automated and manual review," the company is taking "aggressive steps to strengthen both" review processes. 

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"Reviewing ads means assessing not just the content of an ad, but the context in which it was bought and the intended audience – so we’re changing our ads review system to pay more attention to these signals," Kaplan wrote. "We’re also adding more than 1,000 people to our global ads review teams over the next year and investing more in machine learning to better understand when to flag and take down ads. Enforcement is never perfect, but we will get better at finding and removing improper ads."

Kaplan added that Facebook would also tighten the restrictions it places on advertiser content, writing that Facebook would "prevent ads that use even more subtle expressions of violence."

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He said the company's policies "already prohibit shocking content, direct threats and the promotion of the sale or use of weapons."

Facebook is also going to update its policies to require better documentation from advertisers who want to run ads related to the U.S. election, including a requirement that the advertisers will have to confirm the business or organization they represent.

FACEBOOK WILL RELEASE RUSSIAN-LINKED ADS TO CONGRESS, MARK ZUCKERBERG SAYS

Last month, Zuckerberg said Facebook would release the more than 3,000 ads that it believes are linked to Russian operatives to Congress. Many of the ads, which totaled upwards of $100,000, tried to amplify racial and social divisions. 

The ads are being sent to congressional investigators today, Kaplan added in the post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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