Rob Leathern, Director of Product at Facebook, said via Twitter that the social media giant has just added a new column to its 2020 U.S. Presidential Election CrowdTangle Live Display. This new column will now allow users to see political branded content on Facebook and Instagram.
People can view the display in a live feed or search by candidate. Leathern said. “We’re exploring options on how to ensure transparency of political branded content posted from Instagram accounts while public who later switch to private,” he added.
The move comes in response to the meme fest that was started by US 2020 Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s campaign. Bloomberg, a former US mayor and 2020 presidential hopeful, has been running a high-profile campaign, spending millions of dollars in the form of TV as well as social media advertisements, reportedly spending upward of $1 Million per day just on the latter.
That campaigning went up a notch when they began to hire influencers and individuals to put up sponsored posts praising Bloomberg while belittling other candidates, paying them $2500 a day. The campaign put up coordinated posts, using the same hashtags, texts, images, and links.
As much as the news guidelines are welcome, clearly more needs to be done. It will be interesting to see what steps Facebook further takes as the political scene heats up in the run-up to the November US Presidential elections.
Facebook and a correct political discourse have never gone hand in hand. The tech giant has always found itself at the wrong end of controlling political manipulation of masses on the platform. While other social media platforms like Twitter have taken a more stern approach, Facebook has been somewhat timid (read that as money minting) in response.
The California based company has always been in the news for its efforts to censor the political content available on its platform, but for all the wrong reasons. In the midst of increased calls to monitor the online political campaigns, Facebook, in a controversial move, had recently announced that it will allow influencers to produce sponsored content for political campaigns, a decision that drew the ire of the general public. That outcry has led Facebook to make some much-needed changes to its earlier decision.