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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

Go deeper

Go deeper

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

For CEOs, social media has lost its fun

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CEO Jack Dorsey's departure from Twitter shows that, in Silicon Valley today, social media is becoming a field to flee.

Why it matters: Coming on the heels of Facebook's name change and new metaverse focus, Dorsey's resignation is another sign that the industry now views the massive social networks it built over the last two decades as buggy "legacy applications" mired in annoying social problems.