The European Parliament elections will take place in May, and there is a widespread fear that they will be interfered with by fake news campaigns or bad digital practices. Before that, Facebook is making several changes in the way ads are placed on the social network, but have not had good reception in groups of researchers or organizations such as Mozilla, who has just sent a letter to the EU.
According to Facebook, the changes include that advertisers must confirm their identities before they can publish ads; likewise, they said that they planned to increase transparency in relation to the announcements by providing public information. For example, each political announcement will include a link where it will be revealed how much money was spent on that ad, how many times it has been viewed and the age, gender and location of the viewer.
In parallel, the social network has been restricting various web add-ons (such as ad blockers, which could potentially obstruct data), but its changes have broken the functionality of various browser research tools. It is precisely this, which has generated discomfort.
Mozilla sent a letter to the European Commission arguing that Facebook’s approach is creating a “lack of transparency”. In fact, Firefox wants to launch a web plugin for the EU’s parliamentary election (aimed at users and researchers), but Facebook changes could hinder or limit it.
Mozilla also noted that the toolkit to analyze Facebook’s in-depth political ads remains private and is limited to a “small number of privileged researchers.”
The issue is rising increasingly in tone, since the company said it had spoken with Facebook about their views, but that there was nothing fruitful. For this, he hopes that he will treat the issue with them to press them.