Facebook to Demand Authorizations for Political Ads in Georgia

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a local watchdog, reported on July 15 that Facebook responded to a recent open letter of Georgian civil society organizations, in which social media network stated that “starting in early August 2020, we will require authorizations for ads about elections and politics in Georgia.”

“This will offer an unprecedented level of transparency and authenticity around these ads, so people can see who’s trying to influence their vote ahead of the elections and why,” noted Facebook.

Popular social media website added that “in the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to political advertisers to ensure they have the necessary tools to comply with our Ads Transparency requirements.”

With less than four months before crucial October parliamentary polls, 47 Georgian civil society and media organizations, sent an open letter to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Nick Clegg, on June 29, calling to take measures to prevent “anonymous, coordinated and sponsored political discrediting campaigns” in Georgia.

One of the requests was to launch “Political Ad Library and Political Ads API” – features that allow the readers to identify sponsored political content and trace its sources.

Facebook – Georgian netizens’ platform of choice – is increasingly becoming the battleground of Georgian elections and politics.

In December 2019, Facebook announced its first-ever Georgian takedown, that affected Georgian government-linked network with “inauthentic coordinated behavior” on the platform.

In its second Georgian takedown in May, the social media giant removed hundreds of inauthentic pages, linked to the pro-government, as well as pro-United National Movement actors. Facebook’s May takedown also affected the Kremlin-linked network, that among others targeted Georgian social media users.

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