GETTY/AFP/File / JUSTIN SULLIVANFacebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg said the network will hire
"thousands" of new employees to verify the
identity of political advertisers
Facebook announced Friday it will require
political ads on its platform to state who
is paying for the message and would verify
the identity of the payer, in a bid to curb
outside election interference.
The social network, which is under fire
for enabling manipulation of its platform in
the 2016 election, said the new policy would
require any messages for candidates or
public issues to include the label
"political ad" with the name of the person
or entity paying for it.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the
change will mean "we will hire thousands of
more people" to get the new system in place
ahead of US midterm elections in November.
"We're starting this in the US and
expanding to the rest of the world in the
coming months," Zuckerberg said on his
"These steps by themselves won't stop all
people trying to game the system. But they
will make it a lot harder for anyone to do
what the Russians did during the 2016
election and use fake accounts and pages to
A separate Facebook statement said the
changes would help improve transparency and
accountability of the network around
"We believe that when you visit a page or
see an ad on Facebook, it should be clear
who it's coming from," the statement said.
To get authorized by Facebook,
"advertisers will need to confirm their
identity and location," the statement said.
"Advertisers will be prohibited from
running political ads -- electoral or
issue-based -- until they are authorized."
Facebook made the announcement as
Zuckerberg prepared to appear before
Congress next week to answer questions about
the harvesting of personal data on 87
million users by Cambridge Analytica, a
British political consultancy working for
Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
The move also comes amid concerns that
Russian-sponsored entities delivered
Facebook ads designed to create discord and
confusion ahead of the election and that
firms like Cambridge Analytica created
messages based on psychographic profiles
gleaned from the platform to influence
- Sandberg's apology -
AFP/File / JACQUES DEMARTHONFacebook
chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg
apologized to users for privacy lapses
and acknowledged the social network
should have done more to stop Russian
Separately, Facebook chief operating
officer Sheryl Sandberg offered fresh
apologies to users for failing to do enough
on privacy and data protection.
"We know that we did not do enough to
protect people's data," Sandberg told
National Public Radio. "I'm really sorry for
that. Mark is really sorry for that, and
what we're doing now is taking really firm
Sandberg said Facebook first became aware
in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had
obtained user data from a researcher who put
up a poll on the social network.
"When we received word that this
researcher gave the data to Cambridge
Analytica, they assured us it was deleted,"
"We did not follow up and confirm, and
that's on us -- and particularly once they
were active in the election, we should have
Sandberg was asked by NBC television's
"Today Show" if other cases of user data
misuse could be expected.
"We're doing an investigation, we're
going to do audits and yes, we think it's
possible, that's why we're doing the audit,"
Sandberg said Facebook also should have
been more proactive in dealing with Russian
interference in the 2016 presidential
"That was something we should have
caught, we should have known about," she
told NPR. "We didn't. Now we've learned."
The firestorm over the improper data
shared has sparked calls for investigations
on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Brussels, a European Union spokesman
said Facebook confirmed that up to 2.7
million people in the EU may have been
affected by the personal data scandal.
"We will study the letter (from Facebook)
in more detail, but it is already clear that
this will need further follow-up discussions
with Facebook," spokesman Christopher Wigand