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As India gets ready for Lok Sabha election 2019, Facebook tightens paid ads rule, to monitor fake news

 Facebook is also planning to set up two new regional operations centers to monitor election-related content in its Dublin and Singapore.

As India gets ready for Lok Sabha election 2019, Facebook tightens paid ads rule, to monitor fake news

SAN FRANCISCO: With Lok Sabha elections 2019 due in a few months, social networking giant Facebook Inc has planned to introduce new tools to empower its users to curb fake news and misinformation spread by people with malicious intent.

According to an announcement by Facebook, the firm is planning to set up two new regional operations centers focused on monitoring election-related content in its Dublin and Singapore offices, the firm said.

Facebook made this announcement in a post titled ''Expanding Our Efforts to Protect Elections in 2019''

Through its post, the world`s largest social network site also promised to tightens paid ads rules ahead of elections in European Union, India and Israel.

''These transparency tools for electoral ads will also launch in India in February and in Ukraine and Israel before their elections, with a global expansion before the end of June,'' it said in the blog.

Facebook said that it will beef up its rules and safeguards around political adverts to prevent foreign interference in elections, including those in Europe this year.

The world`s largest social network has faced pressure from regulators and the public after last year's revelation that British consultancy Cambridge Analytica had improperly acquired data on millions of U.S. users to target election advertising.

"We will require those wanting to run political and issue ads to be authorised, and we will display a 'paid for by' disclaimer on those ads," Facebook's recently-appointed head of global affairs Nick Clegg told a gathering at a news conference.

Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister hired by Facebook in October last year, said the new tools to be launched in late March aim to help protect the integrity of elections in EU, India and other parts of the world this year.

Facebook said that the transparency tools for electoral ads would be expanded globally before the end of June, while the tools would be in launched in India in February before its elections and in Ukraine and Israel before polls in both.

The tools are similar to those adopted for the U.S. mid-term elections, Clegg said, adding that all political ads will be stored in a publicly searchable library for up to seven years.

This will contain information such as the amount of money spent and the number of impressions displayed, who paid for them and the demographics of those who saw them, including age, gender and location.

The new tools, which will be launched in March, will also cover `issue ads` which do not explicitly back one candidate or political party but which focus on highly politicised topics like immigration.
Facebook said it will also set up two new regional operations centres focused on monitoring election-related content in its Dublin and Singapore offices.

Clegg denied that Facebook sells users' data.

"Selling people`s information to advertisers would not only be the wrong thing to do, but it would also undermine the way we do business because it would reduce the unique value of our service to advertisers," he said.

The world`s largest social network has been under pressure from regulators around the globe to fight the spread of misinformation on its platform.

(With Reuters Inputs)