Facebook Inc launched searchable archive of U.S. political ads

Vastavam web: Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Thursday launched an archive of U.S. political ads that appear on the world’s largest social network, showing who paid for them and other details, after an outcry over Russians alleged purchase of such ads during the 2016 elections. Facebook, which has 2.2 billion monthly active users, pledged seven months ago to create a cache, saying on the eve of U.S. congressional hearings that it wanted to increase transparency about its role in political advertising.

Beginning on Thursday, all U.S. ads about elections or political issues on Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, must be labeled with the payer, Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of ad product management, said in a post on a company blog. The archive begins with ads that ran in May. Clicking on the label will take people to a searchable archive with information such as the campaign budget, how many people saw it and the demographics of those people such as age, location and gender, Leathern said. Facebook’s archive is a “big step” in right direction, tweeted Democratic Senator Mark Warner, a co-sponsor of legislation to require internet companies to publish political ad data. However, legislation is needed to avoid a “patchwork of disclosure across social media,” he added.

A Russian propaganda arm tried to tamper in the 2016 U.S. elections by posting and buying ads on Facebook, according to the company and U.S. intelligence agencies. Moscow has denied involvement.