- Facebook approved 100 fake political ads -each one claiming to have been to be paid for by a different US senator.
- Earlier this year, Facebook started displaying the name of the politician or entity sponsoring political ads, in a move meant to increase transparency.
- Just a few days earlier, it was revealed that Facebook also approved fake political ads that claimed to be paid for by Vice President Mike Pence, or by “ISIS.” In both cases, the ads were submitted as part of a experiment by Vice News.
- Although Vice didn’t actually run the ads, Facebook admitted that neither instance should have occurred.
There’s new reason not to trust the “paid for by” disclaimer on the political ads you see on Facebook.
Facebook approved 100 fake political ads that claimed to be paid for by every US senator, submitted by Vice News as part of an experiment. The social network began using the “paid for by” disclaimer in May, as a way to boost transparency in political advertising ahead of November’s general election.
Vice News didn’t actually run its fake ads, which it claimed to Facebook were “paid for by” Senator Mitch McConnell and all 99 other United States senators. But with that approval, Facebook would have let Vice run its fake ads alongside real ones.
To submit a political ad on Facebook, the social network requires a photo ID, the name of your company, and the last four digits of your social security number, all of which Vice says that it provided.
In general, the “paid for” feature seems vulnerable to bad-faith actors, and this isn’t the first time phony ads have made it under Facebook’s radar. Just a few days earlier, Vice reported that Facebook had approved ads that claimed to be paid for by Vice President Mike Pence, and another by “ISIS,” also placed by the news site However, an ad submitted under Hillary Clinton’s name was rejected, Vice reports.
Notably, Facebook was quick to reject a fake ad “paid for” by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Vice reports.
Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. However, it told Vice that none of these fake ads should have been approved by the system, and that it’s working on several initiatives to combat misinformation and phony political ads.