Facebook vows more transparency over political ads

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under pressure in advance of hearings on Russian election interference, Facebook is moving to increase transparency for everyone who sees and buys political advertising on its site.

Executives for the social media company said Friday they will verify political ad buyers in federal elections, requiring them to reveal correct names and locations. The site will also create new graphics where users can click on the ads and find out more about who’s behind them.

More broadly, Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president in charge of ad products, said the company is building new transparency tools in which all advertisers — even those that aren’t political — are associated with a page, and users can click on a link to see all of the ads any advertiser is running.

Users also will be able to see all of the ads paid for by the advertisers, whether or not those ads were originally targeted toward them.

The move comes after the company acknowledged it had found more than 3,000 ads linked to Russia that focused on divisive U.S. social issues and were seen by an estimated 10 million people before and after the 2016 U.S. elections.

Facebook, Twitter and Google will testify in Congress next Tuesday and Wednesday on how their platforms were used by Russia or other foreign actors in the election campaign.