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Facebook’s new transparency could come at a price for political advertisers. Photo: Jeff Chiu / AP

In an effort to self-regulate advertising on its platform, Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that in the coming months, Facebook will not only require that political advertisers disclose which Facebook page paid for an ad, "but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser's page and see the ads they're currently running to any audience on Facebook."

Why it matters: Ad buyers overwhelmingly support Facebook's efforts to be more transparent and to crack down on ads that lead to bad pages, but worry about how publicly disclosing their ads will change the way they compete with those advocating for opposing ideologies.

  • "This is a win for transparency and a win for Facebook ad revenue. Even the campaign managers and advertisers most reluctant to spend on Facebook ads might change their minds and up their budgets when they see what ads their competitors are running," says Colin Berglund, digital director at Rational 360, an advocacy and public affairs firm in Washington.
  • "It's probably a natural evolution as an industry matures, but it will make the process more cumbersome and it will also allow competitors to see how you are targeting audiences," says Rob Collins, partner at the public affairs firm S-3 Group and former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The details: They're unclear. Advertisers are assuming — but don't know for sure — that the rules apply to all "political" ads, meaning all cause and appeal messages from trade associations, coalitions, corporate lobbying shops, etc., or simply ads that advocate for the election of a candidate to political office.

They're are also unsure of exactly how Facebook will technically manage uploading tens of thousands of ads to Facebook pages per day. For ad buyers that test thousands of different ad iterations per day, they worry Facebook may not technically have the bandwidth at this time to display all of those ads on a single Facebook page.

Other advertisers are working to respond to the newly-announced limits to targeting terms on the platform, and trying to figure out how to reroute their campaigns. Most say they are confident that Facebook will eventually reinstate an updated version of its old structure, once it's completed once it has reviewed the terms in its system..

"Facebook still has the best targeting options and I wouldn't be surprised if they figure a way to bring a lot of that back," says Matt DeLuca, a consultant with over a decade of political ad buying experience at Edelman and AARP. Earlier this year DeLuca reported KKK targets on the platform after trying to exclude alt-right users from a clients' ad campaign and says Facebook had "removed most of them but not all."

Go deeper

Updated 46 mins ago - Health

Massage, facial, pedicure... intravenous drip?

A salon on the Upper East Side of New York that offers IV drip therapies. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

IV drips — the kind you might get if you're rushed to the hospital — are trending as a spa treatment, thanks in part to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.

Why it matters: Like other "wellness" trends with a whiff of medical imprimatur, IV nutrient drips can be harmless or mildly restorative — or go awry, particularly in the wrong hands.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."