Nick Kratsas (left), digital operations director at southwestern Pennsylvania’s Observer-Reporter, and Justin Channell, digital media editor. Photo: Holly Tonini.
When Facebook announced in April that it would create a public database of political advertising, it seemed like a meaningful step—something that might make it harder for Russian trolls and other bad actors to try to manipulate public opinion using the company’s self-serve ad platform. But it soon became obvious the move would cause problems for media companies: In a follow-up post, Facebook said that any news stories on political topics that were promoted or “boosted” to extend their reach in the News Feed would also be labeled as political ads and put in the database.
To promote political news stories, Facebook requires that publishers apply and be authorized as a political advertiser—presumably to prove that they aren’t a front for a Russian or Iranian troll factory. The process requires the uploading of official ID, such as a driver’s license, a passport, or the last four digits of a Social Security Number, along with receipt of a registered letter at an approved US address.
For larger media outlets, these requirements might be complicated and annoying. For smaller publishers, Facebook’s new rules can be so unwieldy and demanding—and the definition of what constitutes a “political news story” so capricious—that small newsrooms in four states told CJR they are either scaling back their Facebook usage or, in some cases, have given up on promoting their content there at all.
ICYMI: CJR editor says he’s irked
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/the_new_gatekeepers/local-publishers-facebook-political-ads.php