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New Facebook political ad rules: Now you must prove your ID before undermining democracy


"...The horse is a speck on the horizon – but at least the barn door now has a bolt on it..."

Maybe they should now focus on putting a roof and the other three walls on the barn - IMHO Facebook controls are more of a one-wall-set-piece than a full free-standing structure.

"...We believe that increased transparency will lead to increased accountability and responsibility over time – not just for Facebook but advertisers as well..."

<humor> Read as: We're hoping you don't notice in that statement that we've basically admitted that up until now we have had no clue who was using our systems and how - we're really scrambling to even get basic usage statistics beyond how many dollars we pulled in or how many accounts we have active on a day-to-day basis. </humor>

"...If a person sees a political ad that doesn't have a label and needs one, we're asking them to report it..."

<humor> Read as: In order to not get broken up (which we really, really don't want to have happen, because it might impact our employee profit sharing!!), we are doing our level best to ensure we don't have to understand what we are actually doing, and also that we are trying as hard as possible to find a way to have plausible deniability and no responsibility if we manage to cock it up. After all, if Congress or the EU comes back and says "Hey what about this political ad?" our architecture will allow us to say "Nobody flagged it as political, thanks for notifying us about it, we'll look into your concerns and promptly tell you that we were not responsible." Anyway, since we'll still be running the database where we keep track of people's reports of political ads, we can just go in there and tweak (or more likely, remove) the numbers if it looks like we are about to get in trouble. </humor>

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