No one really expects Facebook to do the right thing anymore. Every other day we hear about potential privacy violations, such as the mounting anecdotal claims that Facebook might be listening to you at all times in order to pick up keywords so it can better advertise to your needs, read here.
But in the face of concerns that Russia used Facebook ads to influence the 2016 presidential elections, the social behemoth is bending to pressure and increasing transparency be allowing any user to see who is the organization that is running any ad.
These new ad transparency features are expected to roll out by year’s end, and once they do, you will be able to bring up all the ads that your page is currently running and look at additional information, such as the amount spent, the demographics that were targeted, and who paid for them.
Most likely, this new feature won’t be used by most Facebook users, but transparency like this does help everyone in a democracy. This action by Facebook doesn’t seem altruistically motivated, however – Congress is already considering a bipartisan bill proposing new regulations for online ads. Most likely, Facebook just wanted to get ahead of those regulations to prevent further negative PR.
In any case, this is a great business move for Facebook. Ad transparency across the internet is crucially needed, and by being one of the first movers in this front, it can combat the growing perception of the platform being the hub of fake news.