Updated May 8, 2018

Facebook rolls out issue ads policy

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is defining what it considers "issue ads" through an initial list of ad topics, ranging from abortion to guns, that will require authorization and labeling on its platform in the U.S.

Why it matters: The definition of an issue ad can be very nuanced, which is why it is often more difficult to regulate than election ads, which tend to simply advocate for one candidate over another.

Facebook's initial list of what it considers an "issue ad": Abortion, budget, civil rights, crime, economy, education, energy, environment, foreign policy, government reform, guns, health, immigration, infrastructure, military, poverty, social security, taxes, terrorism, and values.

Our thought bubble: A list of topics is a good start, but there will inevitably be instances where there are discrepancies about what is considered an "issue ad." When Facebook's appeals process is eventually established, these discrepancies would likely be taken up there.

  • Facebook says it's been working with third parties, like the Comparative Agendas Project — which analyzes policy data around the world — and that the list may evolve over time.
  • The label for issue and political ads is not yet live. Facebook says it wants advertisers to have sufficient time to authorize and experience the new ad flow before the changes take effect on the platform this spring.
  • What's next: Moving forward, advertisers placing political and issue ads on Facebook will have to verify their identity and location, as well as disclose who paid for the ad.

The bigger picture: There will now be more visibility around political and issue ad spending online, which changes the competitive landscape for groups that have been spending millions on online advocacy campaigns that their opponents couldn’t track. 

“This means opposing campaigns can see what messages are resonating with what audiences, allowing people who don’t have as many resources to simply piggyback off of the data from the ad buy and/or do their own targeting of that particular audience — possibly (and likely) with messaging that serves to counter the initial purchase."
— Jason Rosenbaum, former head of digital advertising for Hillary Clinton's campaign

Timing: Facebook announced last month that it would be updating its advertising policies, after initially floating the idea in October following the revelation that Russian actors bought issue ads on Facebook to sow discord in the 2016 presidential election.

“This policy, as we mentioned back in October, brings more transparency to online advertising and helps prevent abuse on the platform, while still promoting legitimate discussion of social issues and honest civic debate.”
— Monika Bickert, Vice President of Global Policy Management at Facebook

Go deeper: Google sets new rules for U.S. election ads

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy