Oct 2, 2017

Facebook announces ad updates in response to Russia probe

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in 2016. Photo: Manu Fernadez/AP

Facebook has started laying out promised changes to its ad policies, spurred by concerns that Russians potentially used the company's platform to interfere with the 2016 election. The company said Monday that it would require political advertisers to provide more information. It will also add a thousand people to its team that reviews advertisements.

The bottom line: This is a first step. The most dramatic change Facebook has announced — making pages disclose all of the political ads they are running — remains abstract.

The details:

  • The company will add 1,000 employees to the team that reviews ads over the course of a year and adjust the factors it uses to evaluate ads.
  • Potential buyers of ads related to federal elections will have to affirm the organization that they represent.
  • The company will not allow even less overt references to violence in ads.
  • Facebook says it's building a new tool that will let you see the ads a page is running – including ads that aren't targeted to you directly.

The unanswered questions:

  • How will Facebook enforce creative guidelines? Facebook says it tries to catch all ads before they go live, but will still rely on user reports to flag bad ones. Premium publishers, like the New York Times, require that advocacy and political advertisers disclose what the ads look like upfront to a sales manager before they are allowed to run programmatically on the site, to avoid this risk.
  • What will the new ads review system look like? Facebook says it is hiring more people to enforce ads standards, but the standards being used to evaluate ads remains unclear. Other publishers will send advertisers these guidelines upfront, so as to ensure they don't submit ads that will be turned down — which slows down the ad-buying process.
  • How will it confirm advertiser legitimacy? Facebook says it's going to require more thorough documentation from advertisers who want to run US federal election-related ads, but what will this include?
  • When will the new transparency tool roll out? Advertising for the 2018 midterms is already underway.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,225,360 — Total deaths: 66,542 — Total recoveries: 252,615Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 312,249 — Total deaths: 8,503 — Total recoveries: 15,021Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August." Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: The Louisiana governor warned that his state is set to run out of ventilators in four days. Illinois governor claims Trump doesn't understand the word "federal."
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Work update: Employees still going to work are often facing temperature checks, distanced work stations, protective devices and mass absences.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Illinois governor: "The president does not understand the word 'federal'"

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's comments about the federal government's stockpile of medical equipment suggest he "does not understand the word 'federal.'"

Why it matters: White House adviser Jared Kushner argued at a press briefing last week that the "notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile; it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 8,500

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 8,500 in the U.S. early Sunday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday that this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health