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Facebook tightens political ad rules ahead of 2020 election

The social network says it wants to provide more details about who's behind the ads you're seeing.

- 01:30

Want to post an election-related ad on Facebook? There are new requirements you'll have to meet.

Angela Lang/CNET
This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET's coverage of the voting in November and its aftermath.

Facebook says it's taking more steps to protect the 2020 US elections, including stricter identification requirements for people and organizations running political or issue ads. This comes after a "number of cases" in which advertisers tried to include misleading disclaimers about who was paying for an ad, the social network said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Starting next month, advertisers will be required to provide more information -- like street address, Federal Election Commission ID number, or a government or business email that matches their website domain -- to prove the identify of their organization before Facebook will review and approve their "Paid for by" disclaimer. Ads that don't provide the additional information by mid-October will be paused, Facebook said. This info will be made available in Facebook's public ad library.

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"While the authorization process won't be perfect, it will help us confirm the legitimacy of an organization and provide people with more details about who's behind the ads they are seeing," the company wrote in its blog post. 

Facebook last year rolled out new policies for all political ads following scrutiny over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The social network also created a publicly viewable election ad database, showing all of a given advertiser's previous ads, the amount spent and the demographics the ads targeted. 

In addition to the stricter identification requirements, Facebook said Wednesday it'll continue to make election-related updates over the coming months. These will include enhancements to the Ad Library, new Page requirements for national candidates and elected officials and expanding its policy to prohibit ads that discourage people from voting.