Twitter entries change: more data, transparency on clients, labels to identify political advertising.
Twitter ads will become more transparent, Twitter intends to show the mechanism of advertisements on the platform, including political announcements, and this is the latest response from the technology company to criticisms of the role played in spreading foreign propaganda during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The company said that, according to the new rules, users will be able to see who has created a Twitter account in their posts ad, how long an ad remained active and how the ad was aimed at a specific user.
Twitter listings: More transparency in political announcements
The political announcements of a candidate or a party could show a special label in the Twitter ads to make them clearly connoted. Twitter has stated that it could disclose the identity of who paid the ad for an election campaign and allow users to find information about the advertiser, including the history of publication fees and ad targeting practices.
In a blog post describing future plans, Twitter stated that it could also include more stringent requirements for buying ads for political purposes. The company said it could also restrict targeting options and establish tougher penalties for misbehavior.
Twitter listings change soon
Twitter said it wanted to implement some of these changes for Twitter ads in the coming weeks, starting with the United States and then expanding the news globally.
The announcement is part of a major change in the industry to lift the veil on how secret advertising activities, the main profit-creation centers, work, given that lawmakers have put more pressure on social media platforms for the role they have played in Russia's attempt to influence the elections. expected Twitter, Facebook and Google to appear for hearings before the Senate and the Intelligence Committees on November 1st.
Twitter posts the political controversy
Legislators like the Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic leader on the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed displeasure with Twitter: at the end of September, Senator Warner stated that Twitter's response was inadequate when asked to provide evidence regarding advertising and related advertising accounts to Russia who have disseminated disinformation elements or have been used to favor a presidential candidate.
At the time, Twitter said it had discovered about 200 accounts related to Russian attempts to influence the elections, but this figure was significantly lower than the number discovered a month earlier by researchers of the Alliance for the Protection of Democracy, a bipartisan initiative of the Marshall Fund, the Washington-based public policy research group. The researchers monitored 600 Twitter accounts, both automatic "bots" and suspect humans, who linked Russian attempts to influence the elections.
There Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, has stated that the company's announcement is not far-sighted enough and that dominant online businesses, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, need rules that can be enforced by the Government.
Last week, Klobuchar, Warner and Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, presented a bill which would require digital platforms to report those who purchased political ads on their sites in the same way that television stations must maintain databases with this type of information. The bill is an answer to the concern that fake accounts linked to Russia on Facebook and other sites have been able to pass the various site checks and easily buy thousands of ads that promote racial issues and other hot topics for to sow chaos before the elections and to influence the result.
I welcome this transparency, said Klobuchar, but we need a law for two main reasons: not all companies will do the same and c need rules to be applied along the way. He added that companies should not be allowed to regulate themselves in this regard.
Transparent listings also on Facebook
The Twitter announcement followed a statement this month by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, who announced similar voluntary efforts to narrow the standards for ad buyers. Lawmakers are still skeptical and claim that there are still many unanswered questions about whether social media sites are able to prevent errors like those of the 2016 elections alone.
The proposed changes also raise new problems for politicians. First, advertising agencies often consider digital strategy as part of their secret recipe when they try to sell their services to politicians and campaign strategists. Spotlighting advertising, including the amount spent, could provide valuable information to competing candidates.
Twitter listings: the role of bots
Furthermore, it is unclear whether Twitter will be able to keep up with targeting strategies, budgets and evolving objectives and the company has not mentioned how it intends to deal with the widespread distribution of bots.
Many of these automated accounts, along with Twitter users with suspected links to the Russian government, bombed the platform without buying advertising. Researchers at FireEye, the cybersecurity company, found that hundreds or thousands of fake accounts had regularly sent messages criticizing Hillary Clinton, sometimes with identical tweets published just a few seconds away.
Californian representative Adam B. Schiff, the number one Democrat in the Intelligence Committee, said that transparency in advertising alone not a solution for developing bots that amplify false or misleading content or for the success of online trolls in promoting negative messages.
Twitter has confirmed that I will try to restrict the links for advertisements based on themes that are not part of the new electoral rules, such as the position of an environmental group for clean air policies or the promotion of environmental deregulation by a company of energy, but the company has also admitted that not yet well defined what an insertion related to a topic like those just mentioned may be.
"We will work with the companies with which we interface, with other industry leaders, with policy makers and with advertising partners to define sensitive issues clearly and integrate them into the new approach previously indicated," Twitter said in its blog post. .