Meta to Compel Political Advertisers to Disclose AI or Digital Changes

Meta, the parent company overseeing Facebook and Instagram, is set to introduce a policy requiring political advertisers to disclose the use of AI or digital manipulation in their ads. This policy, slated for implementation in January, extends beyond existing rules concerning deepfakes and mandates the declaration of digitally altered images or videos in political, election, or social issue-related advertisements.

The new policy will be enforced globally and will involve oversight from both human and AI fact-checkers. It encompasses alterations such as modifying statements in a video, editing images or footage of actual events, and creating lifelike depictions of non-existent individuals. Users will be notified when ads are flagged as digitally altered, although Meta has not provided specific details on how this information will be conveyed.

Advertisers are exempt from disclosing minor adjustments like cropping or colour correction unless these changes are deemed consequential to the ad’s claim or issue. It is crucial to note that these disclosure measures are supplemental to existing policies governing deepfakes and applicable to all users, not solely advertisers.

The primary goal of these rules is to address concerns regarding the potential misuse of manipulated media in political communications. Meta’s announcement aligns with a parallel initiative by Google, which recently implemented a comparable policy on its platforms. In contrast, TikTok takes a different stance by prohibiting any form of political advertising.

Meta has emphasised that failure to declare digital alterations for relevant ads will result in the rejection of the ads. Repeated non-disclosure may incur penalties against the advertiser. This move underscores ongoing efforts by social media platforms to enhance transparency and combat the dissemination of misleading information. It reflects the industry’s commitment to adapting policies to emerging technological challenges and maintaining public trust in digital advertising and content.