Dark Finances on Facebook is Altering Election Campaigns
- Salman Ahmed
- October 18th, 2018
“Anonymous entities are taking benefits of loopholes in Facebook ad campaigns.”
Just one year ago, the Facebook officials stated, it would develop an advertising database platform that would be available for public, researchers and journalist.
So after a victorious test in Canada, Facebook launch the database in the USA, at the start of 2018 and also plans to launch an advanced version of this ads database in the UK.
All the process and actions Facebook has taken during the 2016 election campaign to enhance reliance on the social platform. The ad database regarding political campaigns seems to be most influencing.
This ad database provides access to anyone to analyze what kinds of ads are running, how much money these ads cost, and what kind of audience is being targeted.
Moreover, this ad databased also provides the details of entities who show interest in buying political ads, their government identification and mailing address too.
In short, this ad database represents the activities and strategies of different groups and entities that how they use Facebook to impact behavior.
To make the situation more efficient with the help of ad database, Facebook announced that they are doing their best to improve this ad database more, but the week before US elections, some major loopholes have appeared.
According to “The Atlantic,” Alexis Madrigal is the person who finds the loophole, which provides immoral access to advertisers to hide their identities rather frivolous, through directing their funds by specified liability organizations.
The time where Alexis found this loophole was when he is searching on a “MotiveAI” organization. Facebook and its only managing director “Dan Fletcher” founded this organization.
“The Daily Beast” was the one who found a link between MotiveAI with an anonymous group known as “News of Democracy” that develops ads for political campaigns and uses them to run around 14 pages that it owns.
In September, it was estimated that the organization spent almost $400,000 on more than 16 million impressions and recognized as one of the highest political advertisers on the social platform.
Furthermore, it has been revealed today that in Virginia’s 10th Congressional, an anonymous individual was purchasing political ads that demonstrate as the political candidate of Jennifer Wexton.
The ads paint Ms. Wexton as an “evil socialist,” with language and imagery not typically found in even the roughest campaigns. In one ad, which began running on Monday, Ms. Wexton is pictured next to an image of Nazi soldiers, and the ad’s text refers to her supporters as “modern-day brown shirts.” In another, which first ran this month, Ms. Wexton is compared to Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused the new Supreme Court justice, Brett M. Kavanaugh, of sexual assault. The image is captioned: “What’s the difference? Nothing. Both are liars.”
Facebook, but mysteries to the public know the person or group behind the ads. The funding disclaimer attached to the ads reads, “Paid for by freedom loving American Citizen exercising my natural law right, protected by the 1st Amendment and protected by the 2nd Amendment.” There is no other identifying information on the page.
The major flaw is the Facebook form, which is the peer requirement for the advertisers to run ads on the social platform. However, there is monitoring tracking on advertisers, so they have the freedom to type anything in the form.
In this corporations get the freedom to use dark finances into the election campaign to retrieve the likable results. Moreover according to Alexis point of view, if Facebook wants to resolve this issue, then it can’t be itself alone:
While Facebook requires all ad sponsors to send them a government ID, so that they can be “verified,” Facebook shares literally no information about the company that paid for a given ad, aside from the name. Given that LLCs are opaque and can pop into and out of existence, there is no formal mechanism for figuring out who is pushing what agenda. Though Fletcher maintains that his funding comes from Americans, it’s easy to imagine a hypothetical in which it does not. Let’s say MotiveAI had substantial Chinese or European investors. That foreign involvement could very easily be laundered through an American starting an LLC. Even better, a thicket of LLCs that