Vice finds holes in Facebook's "Paid for" disclosure for political advertising


In the run-up to the November 2018 US midterm elections, Vice tested Facebook's new system of mandatory "Paid for" disclosure intended to bring greater transparency to the sources of ads relating to "issues of national importance". Placing political ads requires a valid ID and proof of residence. Vice found that Facebook quickly approved ads the site attempted to place that named Islamic State, US vice president Mike Pence, and Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez in the "Paid for" disclosure. Vice also used text copied from ads run by Russian agents in 2016. Among the other false names and bogus PACs Vice tried, "Hillary Clinton" was denied without an explanation. Facebook said that the ads should never have been approved, but that only the faked Paid for disclosures were against its rules, not the content submitted. The accepted ads never ran on the site.

Writer: William Turton
Publication: Vice

Learn more
Related learning resources
Target Profile