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Facebook announces changes to combat election meddling

Facebook rolled out another big set of changes to its platform on Friday in advance of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimon...

Posted: Apr 7, 2018 9:27 AM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 9:27 AM

Facebook rolled out another big set of changes to its platform on Friday in advance of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill next week.

The social media company will now begin labeling all political and issue ads, and showing who paid for them, and it will require anyone who wants to run a political or issue ad to verify their identity and location.

This marks an expansion of Facebook's previous plans on this front, when these measures would have applied only to political ads -- typically defined as mentioning a specific candidate -- but not to ads that only talk about hot-button issues without mentioning candidates.

Facebook says the new labeling will appear on ads later this Spring.

The ads will be put into a searchable database, which will be released in June. The database will include details on how much the ads cost and what kinds of people the advertisers were targeting. Ads will stay in the database for four years.

Facebook is also going to start verifying the people behind large Pages.

"These steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post announcing the changes.

Related: Facebook finds hundreds more accounts run by Kremlin-linked troll group

To get verified by Facebook, ad-buyers and Page administrators will have to provide the company with a government issued ID and a physical mailing address. Facebook will mail them a letter with a special code to confirm the address. Advertisers will have to tell Facebook which candidate, organization or business they're representing as well.

The Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked troll farm that has used Facebook and other social media in an attempt to meddle in U.S. politics, created Pages meant to look like they were run by real American activists.

It also ran ads, almost all of which would likely not have qualified as political ads; at least some would likely be considered issue ads, depending on how exactly Facebook defines issue advertising. The company said Friday it is working with unnamed third parties to come up with a list of "key issues," and that it will update the list over time. It says examples could include pro-life or pro-choice ads, ads relating to the Second Amendment ads, and ads on issues like public infrastructure.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would support the Honest Ads Act, a bill currently under consideration in Congress that would extend the political ad rules for TV stations and print publications to online services. Facebook had previously said it was open to regulation, but had not publicly supported the act.

"We know we were slow to pick-up foreign interference in the 2016 US elections. Today's updates are designed to prevent future abuse in elections," said Facebook ad executives Rob Goldman and Alex Himel in a separate post.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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