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Labour commits to Facebook transparency rules

23 January 2020

Labour commits to Facebook transparency rules and costing of policies for election

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern announced she is re-committing to a relentlessly positive election campaign in 2020 that will see the Party voluntarily sign up to Facebook’s new advertising transparency rules and have its major election policy costings independently verified.

“New Zealanders deserve a positive election. I don’t want New Zealand to fall into the trap of the negative fake news style campaigns that have taken place overseas in recent years,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“I will deliver a positive, factual and robust campaign.

“That isn’t to say we won’t contest others’ views or challenge false claims when they are made. Elections are a contest of ideas for the future. But we’ll do that in a way that fits with the New Zealand style of campaigning and values.

“Facebook has introduced authorisation and transparency measures to make elections overseas fairer and the Labour Party will voluntarily adopt these measures here.

“It means voters can see who is behind paid advertising online, how much they are spending and who they are targeting. The measures help avoid anonymous fake news style ads.

“If an ad appears in your Facebook feed you should know who it’s from and why you were targeted.

“By being transparent about who is behind ads there is likely to be a flow-on effect of parties ensuring they are accurate too.

“These rules are compulsory in the US, UK, Canada and the EU amongst others, but not here. We think it’s the right thing to do to voluntarily adopt them anyway and set a clean tone for the election.

“Labour is proud of our track record of delivering $13 billion worth of surpluses, prudently balancing the books and keeping debt low. Voters deserve to know that our new policies will continue to deliver a strong economy in a second term.

“We will guarantee that the costings of all our major new policy announcements released during the election campaign will be independently verified so voters can be sure of what they are voting for.

“The Government will continue work on establishing an independent policy costing unit for the 2023 election.

“Having policy costings independently verified improves the quality of information voters have about policies and ensures better policy. It’s a good thing and we are happy to show leadership on this.

“The Government has made good progress in our first term. There is a strong economy and we’re starting to turn around the long-term issues ignored for too long. I’m proud that our positive message for the election will be to keep doing it,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Facebook ad transparency Q+A

Why did Facebook introduce the rules?
In an attempt to crack-down on fake news and political interference ahead of general elections, Facebook introduced the need for pages and advertisers to be ‘authorised’ in order to run ads about social issues, elections or politics in a given country.

What countries is it compulsory in?
This is already compulsory in some regions, including Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, European Union, India, Israel, Poland, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States, but is currently opt-in in New Zealand.

What is the new authorisation rule?
The ‘Authorisation’ element will mean any member of staff that wished to run paid adverts using Facebook Ad Manager will need to become authorised to do so. In order to become authorised staff will need to:

1. Be an Admin for the page running ads
2. Confirm their identity
3. Confirm New Zealand is their primary location
4. Confirm they are eligible to be living in New Zealand

The process for this includes submitting official identification (birth certificate, drivers licence, passport) and forms which prove their right to reside (residents permit, visa, tax ID).

What do the transparency rules do?
Overseas voters are able to see:
• A disclaimer on the ad itself specifying who is paying for the ad
• Potential Reach estimates how many people your ad could potentially reach
• A spending range of each ad
• A range of impressions for each ad is visible to the public
• Demographic data of our target audiences such as age and sex, and the percentage of the said audience that’s seen an ad.
• Where the ad was shown being shown (e.g. Auckland region, Canterbury)
• What platforms the ads are being run on (e.g. Facebook, Instagram)
• Ads are marked as being about ‘social issues, elections or politics’

When will this be implemented?
It will take around two weeks to ensure Labour’s pages and staff are fully compliant. The Labour pages and the Prime Ministers pages will roll the policy out first. Other MPs will follow once set up and staff trained in how to use it.


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