Increasing Political Ad Authenticity and Transparency

Greater authenticity requirements, transparency, and accountability for ads about politics, social issues or elections on Facebook means people have more information about who is trying to influence their vote. That helps us better protect elections and prevent foreign interference.

In Canada, we rolled out authenticity and transparency tools for advertisers in compliance with our obligations under C-76, the Elections Modernization Act in June 2019. Canada was one of the first countries where these transparency tools were made available, and we’ve now expanded to more than 190 countries and territories. The Ad Library in Canada now houses more than 380,000 ads and continues to be a critical tool for regulators, journalists, and researchers. The Ad Library in Canada now houses more than 380,000 ads and continues to be a critical tool for regulators, journalists, and researchers. 380,000 ads and counting Canada 7 These tools are always active, not just during an election, and they include:

  • Advertiser Authentication: Advertisers must complete a rigorous authorization process. This ensures that anyone seeking to run a political, election or issue ad targeting Canada must confirm their identity and location and provide information about who paid for the ad.
  • Ad Labeling: Political and issue ads are then labeled with a “Paid for by” disclaimer when they appear on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Ad Library: All ads are made available in a public, searchable database that contains all ads run on Facebook and Instagram related to politics and issues of national importance, where they remain for 7 years. The Ad Library shows range of impressions and ad spend, as well as the demographics of who saw the ad. Access our Ad Library here to search for ads.
  • Ad Library Report: In July 2019, we released the Ad Library Report of aggregated insights about ads relating to politics and issues of national importance to Canada. These reports are refreshed daily, are accessible to anyone and do not require a Facebook log-in.
  • Expanded Transparency and More Controls: In January 2020, we introduced updates to our Ad Library to increase the level of transparency it provides for people and give them more control over the ads they see. These updates are a result of global consultations with key experts and stakeholders, including through our Canadian Election Integrity Project at Carleton University. These updates allow for:
    • Viewing audience size in the Ad Library: We added ranges for Potential Reach, which is the estimated target audience size for each political, electoral or social issue ad so you can see how many people an advertiser wanted to reach with every ad.
    • Better Ad Library search and filtering: We added the ability to search for ads with exact phrases, better grouping of similar ads, and added several new filters to better analyze results — e.g. audience size, dates and regions reached. This will allow for more efficient and effective research for voters, academics or journalists using these features. Canada 8
  • Seeing Fewer Political Ads: We’re also working to give people more control over the ads they see. Seeing fewer political and social issue ads is a common request we hear from people. That’s why we added a new control that allows people to see fewer political and social issue ads on Facebook and Instagram. This feature builds on other controls in Ad Preferences we’ve released in the past, like allowing people to see fewer ads about certain topics or remove interests