Oct 30, 2018

Report: Facebook fails to verify political advertisers' identities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Vice News got Facebook to approve its purchases of ads under the names of all 100 U.S. senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), per a new report.

Why it matters: Facebook's efforts at transparency in political advertising won't be effective if the platform does not verify the information users provide.

Flashback: Vice also performed a similar test earlier this month, that saw ads approved in the names of Vice President Mike Pence, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, and the Islamic State. Facebook said it shouldn't have approved them. An attempt to place an ad posing as Hillary Clinton was denied.

The details: Facebook now requires users to disclose who is paying for political ads, and posts the information at the top of the ad for users to see. Vice News did not actually buy Facebook ads as part of the test.

  • Currently, Facebook users can flag suspicious ads, articles or Facebook pages.
  • Federal elections authorities are in contact with Facebook so ads or disclaimers that violate election law can be flagged.
"We know we can’t do this alone and by housing these ads for up to seven years, people, regulators, third-parties and watchdog groups can hold these groups more accountable. This is also one piece of our broader efforts to bring greater transparency to ads related to politics on Facebook. An advertiser must also confirm his or her identity and location in the US before placing these ads.”
Facebook spokesperson

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Updated 46 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.

By the numbers: Nearly 6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 357,000 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world with over 1.6 million.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. Axios on HBO: Science fiction writers tell us how they see the coronavirus pandemic.
  8. 🏃‍♀️Sports: Boston Marathon canceled after initial postponement, asks runners to go virtual.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

3 hours ago - World

The eye of the COVID-19 storm shifts to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved from China to Europe to the United States and now to Latin America.

Why it matters: Up until now, the pandemic has struck hardest in relatively affluent countries. But it's now spreading fastest in countries where it will be even harder to track, treat and contain.