Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global director of policy program says it that the company will start sending postcards by snail mail to verify buyers of ads related to United States elections.
Facebook’s director describes the plan at a conference held by the National Association of Secretaries of State this weekend, told us it would be start before the congressional midterm elections in November, but didn’t reveal when the program will start exactly.
The program is similar to ones used by Google My Business and Nextdoor when they need to verify business owners or users who want to join closed neighborhood groups. The postcards will be sent to all the people who want to purchase ads that mention candidates running for federal offices, but not issue-based political ads. A cyber security expert explain us how easy it works, since the postcard contain a code that buyers need to enter to verify that they are in the U.S.
In October, Facebook vice president of ads Rob Goldman said that the platform planned to create more transparency around ads by taking steps that include a searchable archive of federal-election ads and requiring political advertisers to verify their identity. On other hand, data security expert told that the postcards won’t solve everything, but were the most effective method that the company could use to prevent people from using false identities to purchase ads.
Several companies have been criticized for not doing enough to prevent false advertising. Actually last fall Facebook, Twitter and Google executives were called to testify in front of Senate about how Russians used their platforms to spread misinformation intended to sway the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.
The issue escalated last week when U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller handed down a set of indictments charging 13 Russian citizens and three Russian organizations, including a bot farm, with according to data security professionals interfering in the presidential election through operations including fake social media accounts.