Transparency in the Wake of Election Troubles
Twitter is doing its part to combat fake news and foreign election meddling by rolling out phase two of its plan for transparency surrounding political ad campaigns.
There’s a lot hanging on this year’s midterm election and social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are doing everything they can to ensure political advertising is honest, transparent, and fair.
A few months back, Twitter introduced its transparency initiative partly as a way to give users insights into the origins of political ads and mostly as a way to make all ads more traceable.
This initiative was announced almost simultaneously with Facebook’s new ad transparency features, proving that both companies are serious about avoiding trouble this Fall. (more on that here)
Phase Two Features
As of now, anyone, even those without Twitter accounts, can use the platform’s Ad Transparency Center (a searchable database released October 2017) to search for ads displayed on Twitter within the last seven days.
The Ad Transparency Center features ads promoted by US and global advertisers. Currently, the only political ads that are searchable are those related to US elections.
This may change in the coming months but Twitter has stated that they will need to do more research on the matter before they can extend the feature to non-U.S. elections. The Twitter advertising blog states:
“We are examining how to adapt and internationalize both political campaigning and issue ads policies. We are doing our due diligence to get this right and will have more updates to come.”
For advertisers promoting Twitter approved US political ads, the Ad Transparency Center will break down billing information, ad spend, impression data per tweet and demographic targeting data for them.
These new capabilities expand on several others announced on May 30. As part of the first initiative rollouts, Twitter started adding badges and disclaimers to all political campaign ads and accounts running political ads were required to to certify that they lived in the United States.
Accounts also had to have a profile picture and a link in the bio section that provided accurate contact information. Twitter also banned foreign nationals from targeting political campaign ads to people in the U.S.
Online security has been at the top of everyone’s minds this year. Cambridge Analytica and election interference has social media users freaked and they, as well as the government, have been putting intense pressure on social media networks to get real about transparency and how they handle user data.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, have answered the call eagerly and have started rolling out several new ad policies and transparency tools for marketers and users.
Some of these updated policies have caught marketers in a bit of a whirlwind. It can be difficult to maintain the same content strategies when social media advertising as we know it continues to evolve and adapt. However, these new policies could be a blessing in disguise.
Marketers will have to work harder to make their content more authentic or Facebook and Twitter will literally put an end to their ad plans.
Content should always be engaging, credible, and honest so maybe these new ad policies are the push some brands need to finally get serious about reinventing their content marketing strategies for hyper-aware audiences.