Facebook Inc. (FB) has gotten the message.
The giant social network announced on Thursday that it will now require political ads on both Facebook and Instagram to be clearly labeled and saved in a public, searchable archive in an effort to increase transparency following Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on the platform.
Facebook's director of public policy Steve Satterfield, director of product management Rob Leathern and global politics and government outreach director Katie Harbath held a conference call with reporters on May 24 to announce the news. Any political ads will now be clearly labeled with a "paid for by" disclosure at the top.
The archive will contain any ads relating to political issues, elections and the like that have run in the United States for up to seven years. Facebook's directors said that the company will be hiring 3,000 to 4,000 people (which are included in the estimated 10,000 people Facebook is hiring to boost security efforts) to monitor and flag political advertisements as well as using machine learning models.
The archive will provide more information on individual ads, including the campaign budget associated with it, how many people saw it and the breakdown of viewers' age, gender and location.
In the past, Facebook was widely criticized for allowing Russia-based actors to create fake accounts and news to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In response, the company announced on April 6 that anyone who wants to show "issue ads," including political ads, will have to confirm their identity and location first.
Facebook shares were down 0.5% in the early afternoon Thursday. Since the beginning of the year, the stock has increased 5.4%.