Leading social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Google have been under scrutiny from government agencies for inability to stop the spread of hate speech, fake news, and violence. The 2016 U.S. Presidential elections were marred by the Russian interference and the way they chose to interfere. A huge number of accounts on these platforms had Russian roots and these pages bought advertisements to spread the content that would influence the result of elections. These social media platforms faced a lot of criticism for being incapable to stop the spread of misinformation during the election campaigns.
As the Russian interference was discovered along with ubiquity of fake news, they were brought in for questioning and asked to take necessary measures to curb the spread of misinformation. These platforms have taken various measures, and the process is underway to take more precautions. Let alone 2016 Presidential Elections in the U.S., there are bad actors who have been spreading misinformation and political stories to incite hate and violence. Putting stop to them is also necessary. There are countless fake accounts and politically backed pages on these platforms that have been active to spread hate and false news to influence people.
Putting curb to misinformation and bring transparency has been on the topmost priority for social media platforms. Twitter and Facebook have been announced that they will launch an ad transparency center in last October. Twitter has launched its ads transparency center. On the backdrop of being under scrutiny, this step will enable the social media platform to bring transparency and reveal information about accounts under question.
On its website page of ad transparency center with the title “A more transparent Twitter”, the company wrote, “Twitter is a platform that enables global conversation, and we believe that transparency is a core part of who we are. As part of our commitment to be more transparent, we’ve created a place where you can search for advertisers and see the details behind ads.”
With the launch of its ads transparency center, any user will be able to search for any Twitter account and determine which ad campaigns have been run by that account in past seven days. There will be additional data presented for the political advertisers in the U.S. such as ad spending, billing information, impressions per week, and demographic targeting. Moreover, users will see promoted-only tweets and ads that were suspended along with reason behind the suspension. Any user will be able to find the information and no login will be required.
“We are doing our due diligence to get this right and will have more updates to come,” said Twitter’s Bruce Falck in a blog post. “We stay committed to iterating and improving our work in this space, and doing what’s right for our community.”
With regards to the political ad guidelines the social media firm announced last month, Twitter outlined that there will be the visual identification of ads related to federal elections in the U.S. As the time passes, there will be inclusion of policies around “issue ads” and plan to expand these policies at an international level. Another leading social media platform Facebook also launched its ads transparency platform this week. It is interesting to see how these tools would curb the misinformation from spreading and prevent bad actors from achieving their objectives.