Facebook will verify the identity of people running popular pages, as part of its continued efforts to stem fake news and propaganda.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said all “large” pages would be audited – any which did not clear the process would be prevented from posting.

The move is designed to prevent users who run pages using fake accounts from hiding their true identity.

Mr Zuckerberg said he backed proposed political ads regulation.

It would require technology companies to collect more data on the source of those advertisements.

“Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform,” he wrote.

“And that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act. This will help raise the bar for all political advertising online.”

Also announced today, Facebook will add more transparency over the funding of “issue-based” political ads.

“These steps by themselves won’t stop all people trying to game the system,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads.”

Russian manipulation
The firm will ask those placing political ads for a US government-issued ID and a physical mailing address. A unique code will be sent to the address – and will need to be inputted before the advertising is allowed to run.

The measures are to counter some of the tactics apparently used by the Internet Research Agency, the Russian “troll farm” said to have manipulated Facebook in order to target American voters.

One of the group’s most effective techniques was to set up pages that appeared to be run by passionate US-based campaigners. In some cases, these pages successfully encouraged people to take to the streets and engage in protests.

A spokeswoman told the BBC that Facebook had not finalised what would qualify as a large page, but that it would include other indicators as well as simply the number of followers a page has.

It will also make it clear if the page has changed its name. It is understood Russian trolls used innocuous titles to attract followers to a page, only to then switch the page into promoting a political view.

Facebook already verifies the identity of celebrities and other public figures, and the system for verifying page owners will likely work a similar way, the spokeswoman said.

Source: BBC