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Twitter to open transparency centre, label political ads

TwitterSan Francisco : In a bid to increase transparency on its platform, Twitter has announced to publicly disclose all ads — including political and issue-based ads — and the identity of who bought them.

In the wake of Russia’s alleged use of social media platforms to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election, two Democratic senators introduced last week the “Honest Ads Act”, a bill which requires tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to disclose political ads purchased on their platforms.

“In the coming weeks, we will launch an industry-leading transparency centre that will offer everyone visibility into who is advertising on Twitter, details behind those ads, and tools to share your feedback with us,” Twitter posted late on Tuesday.

The transparency centre will show all ads that are currently running on Twitter, including “Promoted-Only” ads, how long ads have been running and ads targeted to you as well as personalised information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting.

People can also report inappropriate ads or give negative feedback for every ad running on Twitter, whether the ad targets them or not.

“To make it clear when you are seeing or engaging with an electioneering ad, we will now require that electioneering advertisers identify their campaigns as such. We will also change the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator,” Twitter said.

Twitter has already turned over to the US Senate 201 profile names of accounts associated with alleged Russian effort to meddle in the presidential election last year.

The move came after critics said that the tech giant was not taking the congressional probe seriously enough.

Twitter was also criticised for reportedly deleting tweets and other user data useful to investigators looking into Moscow’s suspected manipulation of the social media service during the 2016 election.

The Senate has invited Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, to a public hearing set for November 1.

“We will make new updates first in the US and then roll them out globally. We look forward to engaging with Members of Congress and other key stakeholders on these issues as the legislative process continues,” Twitter posted.


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