Facebook will use its Dublin base to keep tabs on political advertisers, its new head lobbyist — former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg — has said.
The social media company will begin vetting political advertisers in Europe and displaying who paid for specific ads from March, Mr Clegg said in a speech in Brussels.
Hired by Facebook last year to lead the company’s lobbying efforts, Mr Clegg used his first speech since taking the job to explain how the company wants to repair its reputation and be accountable for its impact on society.
- Mr Clegg said
He said Facebook would begin to only allow “authorised” entities who have confirmed their identities to Facebook to purchase certain types of ads in Europe.
Users will be able to search an archive of data about how well such promotions allowed on the platform performed, how much was paid for them, and the demographics of individuals who saw them, for up to seven years.
The change will cover electoral ads as well as so-called “issue ads”, Mr Clegg said, which focus on highly politicised topics such as immigration.
Facebook will create an operations centre in Dublin to co-ordinate these efforts in Europe.
Mr Clegg also answered questions around early-stage plans by the company to integrate the chat tools on the WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger services — a move that could help the social-media giant better tailor ads for users.
The potential integrations have already raised questions among European regulators.
The Data Protection Commission in Dublin said it is seeking an urgent briefing with Facebook, adding that previous proposals to share data between Facebook companies “have given rise to significant data protection concerns.”