Following increasing pressure, Facebook will be opening up its Ad API to increase transparency around how it serves political adverts.
A letter penned by Mozilla and its partners – which includes “technologists, human rights defenders, academics, journalists, and Facebook users” – demanded this very change. By opening the API, the coalition hopes tools can be made to analyse and counter ads used to influence politics.
Rob Leathern, Product Director at Facebook, responded to the letter in a tweet:
The coalition’s letter gave a deadline of April 1st, 2019 and threatened that it would “be exploring ways to hold Facebook accountable if that action isn’t sufficient.”
April 1st was set as the deadline to help ensure transparency ahead of the upcoming EU elections. Let’s hope Facebook manages it to help prevent the kind of political influencing we’ve seen in recent years on the platform.
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