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Facebook forms team for advice on ad registry

Briefs | 03/18/2019 2:39 pm EDT

Facebook Inc. will solicit the advice of an advisory group as part of its effort to ensure its ad registry captures key issues leading to the 2019 federal election.

The group of five will include former NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff Ray Novak, University of Manitoba’s Ry Moran, McGill University’s Antonia Maioni, and University of Victoria professor David Zussman, it said in a Monday press release.

The company announced in the release details of its “Ad Library,” which intends to fulfill a legal requirement under elections legislation, C-76, to hold for a period of time a registry of political advertising hosted on online platforms during the election. Facebook said last month that it will comply with the registry requirement, but it would be a tough road. Alphabet Inc., meanwhile, said it would not be able to comply and instead would just not host political advertisements.

Facebook’s library, slated for before the designated June 30 pre-election period, will require advertisers to confirm their identities before approving not just political and election-related advertisements, but ones based on the issues, including those referring to candidates. Those “issue ads” are defined as ones that “don’t explicitly back one candidate or political party but that are major issues of national importance.” The advisory group will help capture those issues, the company said.     

“In Canada, where there aren’t laws or agencies that list the key issues of national importance that need to be captured in the Ad Library, Facebook is engaging prominent Canadian leaders, representing Canada’s broad political spectrum,” the release said before naming the group.  

The library will be viewable and searchable by anyone around the world for up to seven years and will include data on the ads’ performance, such as the range of spending, impressions and which demographics (age, gender and location) saw it, the release said. The ads will be in the website’s news feed with a “paid for by” disclaimer.


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