Facebook drops controversial policy on archiving promoted news
Facebook announced Thursday that it will no longer include promoted content from news publishers on Facebook in its political ads archive in the U.S. beginning next year.
Why it matters: Publishers loudly protested the policy when it was introduced last spring. News companies argued that the articles they promote on Facebook shouldn't be publicly archived because marketing news is not the same as influencing an agenda via political advertising.
The details: Facebook says it will begin using a news index process that it rolled out in September, as well as additional criteria, to determine which news publishers should be exempt from its ad archives.
Between the lines: Facebook said it created the policy in the first place because it had seen instances of foreign actors pretending to be news organizations, and it wanted to bring transparency to that situation.
- News companies were so upset when this policy was first announced in the spring that some outlets vowed to suspend their paid promotion on Facebook altogether and more than 20,000 publishers wrote to Facebook objecting to the policy.
- In September, Facebook created a news index for publishers to apply to that would give them access to specific news products on Facebook and exempt them from the ads archive policy. Many publishers, including Axios, worked with Facebook on assembling criteria for what should be included in the index.
What they're saying: Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a digital publishers association, said in a statement: "We are pleased that Facebook understands and values the important role of news organizations. We have worked cooperatively with Twitter who understood this from the beginning. We look forward to working in a similar fashion with Facebook."
The bigger picture: Facebook rolled out the news about the archive policy alongside a slew of ad transparency efforts in the U.K., where Facebook is facing pressure from regulators over its data privacy practices.