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Some news outlets want exemption from Facebook's new ad rules

Facebook's plan to create an archive of ads about political issues that could include news articles "dangerously blur...

Posted: May 19, 2018 1:49 PM
Updated: May 19, 2018 1:49 PM

Facebook's plan to create an archive of ads about political issues that could include news articles "dangerously blurs the lines between real reporting and propaganda," a group representing some of the news industry said in a letter to the social media company on Friday.

Facebook is due to begin rolling out new efforts to increase transparency about political advertising on the platform in the coming weeks. The move comes after it emerged that a group tied to the Russian government had bought ads on the platform ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook says it will require political ad buyers to verify they are a citizen or permanent resident in the US. In addition, political ads will have a label showing who paid for them and all applicable ads will be available to view in a searchable archive.

The company's new policy doesn't only apply to ads advocating for or against a particular candidate, however. Any ads that mention a candidate will be subject to the policy.

In addition, the company recently published a list of twenty "top-level issues" it said would be "considered to require advertiser authorization and labeling for ads targeting the US."

The list includes a broad swath of issues including, abortion, civil rights, crime, economy, education, environment, foreign policy, guns, health, immigration, military, poverty, taxes, terrorism, and "values."

Ads by news outlets

Some news publishers use Facebook ads to promote their news articles.

On Thursday, CNN reviewed the active Facebook ad campaigns of more than a dozen American and international news outlets popular on the social networking site.

Only The New York Times and online video publisher NowThis News were running ads on Thursday, according to Facebook's "view ads" feature - a tool the company is trialing in Ireland and Canada, and allows users to see what pages are running ads.

CNN sent Facebook a selection of the ads to ask what the company would deem political.

"The principal architect behind the 9/11 attacks has something he wants to tell senators about President Trump's CIA pick," the text of one ad run by The New York Times read. It linked to a story headlined "9/11 Planner, Tortured by C.I.A., Asks to Tell Senators About Gina Haspel."

Facebook told CNN the ad "would be deemed political content as it references President Trump."

Meaning, the ad would include details about who paid for the ad, and be included in the political ad archive.

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Another ad run by The New York Times included the text, "Back in 1992, 'the idea that a thrilling sexual, openly gay and very butch woman would become a pop idol was seismic," and linked to an article headlined "K.D. Lang Doesn't Have to Indulge Your Constant Cravings."

Facebook said ads about civil rights will be subject to its stricter rules but the company told CNN, this particular ad "would not be deemed political or issue content as it focuses on the journey of an individual rather than a civil rights discussion."

Facebook's new ad rules not only apply to political campaigns and news publishers, but to anyone who wants to place an ad on the platform the company deems political.

Meaning, ads by popular brands that touch on political issues could also be subject to the new rules.

Facebook has not suggested any pages will be exempt from its new rules. Exempting certain news outlets could put the company in a difficult position determining what does and does not constitute a "news outlet."

Related: Ahead of US midterms, tech companies stumble in Irish abortion vote

In its letter to the social media company on Friday, the News Media Alliance, a trade group representing more than 2,000 news organizations in the US, including The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, suggested that Facebook could "exempt news in the ad archive and labelling process for political content."

"Newsgathering and reporting about politics is not the same thing as advocacy or politics," the letter read.

CNN is not part of the News Media Alliance.

In response to the letter, Campbell Brown, Facebook's Head of News Partnerships, said in a statement that preventing misinformation and election interference was one of the company's top priorities.

"We recognize the news content about politics is different and we are working with publishers to develop the right approach," the statement added.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10249104
Hinds10095199
Harrison7173111
Jackson6440124
Rankin5705103
Lee517095
Madison4902107
Forrest385986
Jones361788
Lauderdale3567147
Lafayette329752
Washington3197108
Lamar294750
Oktibbeha248462
Bolivar242484
Lowndes240464
Panola224852
Neshoba2225118
Marshall219450
Leflore206891
Pontotoc202429
Monroe201078
Lincoln192865
Sunflower191955
Warren177757
Tate175351
Union169526
Copiah165440
Pike163958
Yazoo157940
Scott156630
Itawamba155635
Pearl River153468
Alcorn152828
Coahoma151043
Simpson150353
Prentiss148431
Adams143151
Grenada141445
Leake138344
Holmes131561
Tippah126730
George126225
Covington124639
Winston123726
Hancock122840
Wayne119023
Marion117346
Attala116134
Tishomingo110042
Chickasaw108332
Newton107529
Tallahatchie97427
Clarke92453
Clay92327
Jasper83522
Stone78515
Calhoun77713
Walthall76929
Montgomery75425
Carroll73815
Lawrence72614
Smith72116
Yalobusha72028
Noxubee71917
Perry67726
Tunica61819
Greene60822
Claiborne58816
Jefferson Davis57817
Amite55214
Humphreys54319
Benton49618
Quitman4947
Webster45014
Kemper44218
Wilkinson40122
Jefferson35711
Franklin3485
Choctaw3457
Sharkey31717
Issaquena1174
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 247229

Reported Deaths: 3577
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32718500
Mobile19904362
Madison13425148
Tuscaloosa13167154
Montgomery12380236
Shelby1046577
Baldwin882098
Lee778566
Morgan675150
Calhoun6366121
Etowah635166
Marshall630955
Houston532338
DeKalb489736
Cullman447442
Limestone430245
St. Clair425755
Lauderdale413354
Elmore409464
Walker3689111
Talladega353554
Jackson327123
Colbert314642
Blount294640
Autauga275142
Franklin254233
Coffee246515
Dale234454
Dallas226532
Chilton225038
Russell22313
Covington220334
Escambia198631
Chambers177250
Tallapoosa177091
Pike159214
Clarke158919
Marion141336
Winston134423
Lawrence129636
Pickens124218
Geneva12378
Marengo122524
Bibb118817
Barbour117511
Butler117342
Randolph103821
Cherokee102924
Hale97731
Fayette92216
Clay92024
Washington91619
Henry8676
Lowndes79929
Monroe79011
Cleburne77414
Macon74522
Crenshaw71230
Bullock70019
Perry6896
Conecuh68514
Lamar6838
Wilcox63918
Sumter58422
Greene42718
Choctaw42613
Coosa3464
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