Facebook Still Failing At Ad Transparency: Mozilla

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According to Mozilla's VP of Advocacy Ashley Boyd, Facebook is still failing at Ad transparency as opposed to what they claim. Here's what Boyd had to say.

Written By Tech Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:
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According to Mozilla's VP of Advocacy Ashley Boyd, Facebook is still failing at Ad transparency as opposed to what they claim.

Political Ad transparency issue has sparked a whole new debate this week after Twitter's chief executive officer Jack Dorsey on Wednesday announced to cease all political ads on Twitter. But eyebrows were raised later that day when Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg responded that Facebook doesn't have to stop political ads, further raising questions on Facebook's political ad transparency.

Questions are not new for Facebook. Recently, a US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the company's stand to allow politicians to lie in campaign ads, ahead of 2020 US presidential election.

"Facebook is still falling short on its transparency commitments. Further, even perfect transparency wouldn’t change the fact that Facebook is accepting payment to promote dangerous and untrue ads," Boyd said in her blog post.

Mozilla said they have kept a close watch on Facebook’s ad archive for more than a year now.

In February, Mozilla, along with 37 civil society organisations, urged Facebook to provide better transparency into political ads on their platform. In March, Mozilla, along with disinformation researchers, laid out what an 'effective ad transparency archive' should look like.

Boyd said Facebook's ad transparency API released in March was 'woefully ineffective.' She added: "It met just two of experts’ five minimum guidelines. Further, a Mozilla researcher uncovered a long list of bugs and shortcomings that rendered the API nearly useless."

Boyd also cited The New York Times article from July, headlined -- 'Ad Tool Facebook Built to Fight Disinformation Doesn’t Work as Advertised.'

However, Mozilla confirmed that Facebook has made small changes in the API’s functionality further adding: "We will still judge the tool to be fundamentally flawed for its intended purpose of providing transparency and a data source for rigorous research."

Mozilla has urged Facebook to listen to researchers' advice and commit to transparent political advertising before promoting 'failed API.' Otherwise, Mozilla opines that Facebook should not be running political ads on its platform for the time being.

READ | Mozilla examines AI's role in spreading misinformation on the Internet

READ | Mozilla launches campaign against YouTube's recommendation algorithm

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