Facebook users in Kenya and Ethiopia will opt to see fewer political advertisements on their timeline as the social media giant struggles to enhance electoral transparency on the platform.
The firm says the initiative is focused on increasing transparency and controls on social issues, electoral, and political ads in the two countries who will conduct general election this year and 2022 respectively.
“When people use this control, they’ll no longer see ads that run with a “Paid for by” disclaimer”. Political ads play an important role in every election. The feedback received from Facebook users was that they wanted the option to see fewer of these on their Facebook and Instagram feeds,” said Kojo Boakye, Facebook Policy Director for Africa.
According to Facebook, the latest move will empower its estimate 7 million users in Kenya and 6 million users in Ethiopia to have more control over the ads they see on their feeds which entails the creation of controls that enable people to see fewer social issues, electoral, and political ads.
To see fewer political ads, users will have to to visit Ad Preferences on their accounts and click Ad Topics which has lists on topics including Social Issues, Elections or Politics from which they can choose to See Fewer as an option.
Facebook already rolled out the feature in the US and Brazil in 2020 and covers an additional 98 countries including Ethiopia and Kenya.
“Previously, advertisers in these countries may have chosen to use these tools. Now, they will be required to go through the authorization process and place “Paid for by” disclaimers on their ads. This includes any person creating, modifying, publishing or pausing ads that reference political figures, political parties or elections (including “get out the vote” campaigns). Ads will also be entered into Facebook’s Ad Library for seven years,” Facebook said in a statement.
Facebook being the largest social media network platform in the world with an estimated 2.8 billion active monthly users has faced been facing scrutiny over its political ads policy with many calling on the firm to take action on propaganda being spread on the firm especially during political campaigns.
Ethiopia is slated to have its general election in May this year while Kenyans will head to the polls in August next year.