SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter has announced that it will add labels to electioneering ads and launch a “Transparency Center” offering visibility on all advertising on the platform as well as submitting to an MRC audit.

Not only will electioneering advertisers have to identify their campaigns as such, Twitter said that it would also change the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator.

In a blog post, Bruce Falck, general manager/revenue, product and engineering, explained that the Transparency Center would show all ads currently running on Twitter, including Promoted-Only ads, and how long these have been running.

In addition, users can see which ads are targeted to them and the personalized information used for such targeting, including age gender and location.

He also indicated that policy around political issue-based ads that do not name a specific candidate would be tightened, although, in the absence of any standards, he said this will require greater industry co-operation.

An attempt to ingratiate the business with the politicians behind the proposed Honest Ads Act – “We thank these members and others for their foresight in drawing attention to these issues” – drew a sharp response.

Senator Amy Klobuchar said in a statement that Twitter’s announcement was “no substitute for updating our laws”.

Elsewhere, Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, observed that “transparency in advertising alone is not a solution to the deployment of bots that amplify fake or misleading content or to the successful efforts of online trolls to promote divisive messages”.

The Intelligence Committee is to hold an open hearing with representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google next week to probe Russian use of social media platforms to disseminate propaganda.

Last month Twitter suspended 200 Russia-linked accounts as after it investigated online efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

In announcing that Twitter had agreed to submit key measurement metrics for accreditation, the Media Rating Council said it was making the information public because of “significant marketplace interest”. 

Sourced from Twitter, Reuters, Mashable, MRC; additional content by WARC staff