February 25, 2024

Meta has laid out plans for political advertising in 2024, as some of the world’s biggest democracies — including the United States, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the European Union — are set to hold elections.

On Wednesday, the tech giant revealed its blueprint for the upcoming elections, which remains largely consistent with previous years. Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, announced in a blog post that this includes the blocking of new political ads one week before U.S. voters go to the polls in Nov. 2024. Clegg also referred to the $20 billion the company has invested in safety and security for global elections since 2016, writing, “No tech company does more or invests more to protect elections online than Meta — not just during election periods but at all times.”

Meta also said it has identified over 700 hate groups from around the world, of which 400 are white supremacist organizations, in an effort to fight interference operations and harassment.

A key difference, however, will be seen in the face of consumer-generated AI content. Earlier this month, Meta announced that it will require political advertisers to disclose AI-generated content posted to Facebook and Instagram. This pertains to any image, footage or audio that is “digitally created or altered” to depicting something or someone that did not truly occur or exist. Meta’s policy will apply to all social issues, electoral, or political advertisements, globally.

Political advertising on Meta’s platforms has and continues to be a contentious matter. During previous elections, accusations of rampant misinformation — and a clear failure to block said misinformation — have tainted Meta’s self-declared reputation of prioritising the protection of elections online. Globally, the company has been accused of charging less to certain parties than others for advertising, including India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. In 2020, the U.S. Federal Election Commissioner criticized Facebook’s permittance of political ads, saying, “The company has no idea how seriously it is hurting democracy.”

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