2019 Election: Facebook’s preemptive control of election ads in Nigeria

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Facebook has announced it will not accept political advertisements from outside Nigeria ahead of the country’s upcoming general elections.

The company said it was rolling out new rules to prevent “foreign interference” around the polls.

A heated campaign has already begun in Nigeria as the country prepares for the February vote. Facebook ads are an integral part of the social media campaign for candidates and parties.

The new policy also takes effect in Ukraine, where presidential elections will be held in March.

Political ad buyers in these countries must confirm their identity and location and their ads will be archived in an online library for seven years, the company said in a statement.

Facebook rolled out new measures to increase transparency about political advertising after data firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of as many as 87 million users ahead of the 2016 US elections.

UK authorities fined the social media giant with a £500,000 ($645,000) last October, saying that it failed to safeguard user data.

In India, where general elections will be held in April, Facebook said it will begin to archive electoral ads in an online library starting February.
Facebook announced last week that it will roll out additional ad transparency tools in the EU in May.

“By shining a light on political ads, news organizations, regulators, watchdog groups and people anywhere in the world can hold advertisers and us more accountable,” Facebook wrote in the blog post.

The new plan is similar to those the company rolled out in the United Kingdom and Brazil in 2018. Political ad-buyers in the United States must provide Facebook with their Social Security information, a copy of a government-issued ID, and a US address.

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