Facebook approved fake political ads that claimed to be paid for by ISIS and Mike Pence
- In an experiment testing Facebook's new "Paid For" political ad disclosures, Vice News successfully created ads on the social network that claimed to be paid for by ISIS, Mike Pence, and Tom Perez.
- In order to run a political ad, Facebook requires the submitter present photo ID and proof of residence. But that information isn't shown on the news feed — users only see the "Paid For " disclosure.
- Facebook rejected Vice's attempt to run an ad that claimed to be paid for by Hillary Clinton.
- Vice never actually ran the ads and Facebook has since removed them, saying that “inaccurate disclaimers have no place on Facebook."
It appears that a new political ads feature on Facebook is easily fooled.
In an experiment testing Facebook's new "Paid For" political ad disclosures, Vice News successfully created ads on the social network that claimed to be paid for by ISIS, Vice President Mike Pence, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.
Vice also submitted an ad that was "Paid for" by Hillary Clinton, which was rejected.
The "Paid For" feature was added by Facebook in May after it was discovered that Russians had attempted to interfere with the 2016 election by running false or misleading ads on the platform. The feature adds a small disclosure at the top of a political ad, indicating who paid for the advertisement that is appearing on a user's news feed. It's a mandatory feature that appears on every political ad on Facebook.
Vice found that in order to run a political ad, Facebook requires the submitter to present photo ID and proof of residence. But that information isn't shown on the news feed — users only see the "Paid For " disclosure. After Vice provided this information, it was able to successfully create fake advertisements that claimed to be paid for by ISIS, Pence, and Perez.
Facebook did not explain to Vice why the fake Hillary Clinton ad was rejected.
The "Paid For by Mike Pence" ad featured an image of two women wearing burqas, with the caption "Like and share if you want burqa banned in America. Stop all invaders." The ad accompanied by "Paid for by Islamic State" was an exact copy of an ad that Russians ran on Facebook during the 2016 election.
Vice contacted Facebook after creating the ads, which prompted the social media company to remove them. Facebook told Vice that the ads themselves weren't the issue, but the fake "Paid For" disclosures were against its policy.
"Inaccurate disclaimers have no place on Facebook and these ads are no longer running," Rob Leathern, head of Facebook's Business Integrity product management team, told Vice. "Enforcement isn’t perfect — and we won't stop all people trying to game the system — but we have made it much harder and we will continue to improve."
Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on the report.
To read the full story — and see the ads that were approved by Facebook — head over to Vice.
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