Political advertisers in India have to confirm their identity and location: Facebook

To prevent abuse on Facebook ahead of India’s general elections next year, the social networking giant has asked Indian advertisers wanting to run a political ad on its platform to confirm their identity and location.

The social networking firm has begun verifying ads and from next year it plans to show a disclaimer on all political ads that provide more information about who’s placing the ad, the company said in a blog post.

It also asked advertisers to start the process and submit proof of identity and locations to avoid delay.

The company further said taking the step would help it defend against foreign interference in the Indian election, which is due in May next year. Political parties are aware of social media platform reach and are aggressively using it to connect to voters.

Facebook came under heavy scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytics (CA) scandal. It collected over 87 million users worldwide at the behest of Facebook and has been accused in cases of influencing elections in other countries as well.

Two main political parties in India BJP and Congress have also been alleged to have connections with the CA. However, the Indian government had sent show cause notice to Facebook and warned against any abuse of the platform.

To combat fake news in India, Facebook had also hired BBC senior digital strategist Trushar Barot. He is expected to join the company by early next year.

In April, Facebook has partnered with BOOM, an independent digital journalism initiative, to curb the spread of fake news. In November, it has announced a similar process in the United Kingdom. Facebook has also rolled out these changes in the US and Brazil.

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