Meta Unveils AI Disclosure Policy for Political Ads



Key Takeaways

  • Meta introduces a policy mandating AI usage disclosure in certain political ads.
  • The policy targets AI-generated visuals, audio, and events in political advertisements.

Meta’s New Political Ad Policy

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has introduced a significant update to its political advertising policies. In a recent blog post, Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs, outlined these new guidelines. The focus of the policy change is on the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in political ads, particularly those involving digitally created or altered images and videos.

AI Disclosure Mandate in Political Ads

Starting next year, Meta will require advertisers to disclose the use of AI and digital editing in political or social issue ads under specific conditions. This mandate is particularly applicable if the ad features photorealistic visuals or audio digitally fabricated or manipulated to portray a real person saying or doing something they did not. It also extends to ads depicting non-existent realistic people, events that did not occur, altered footage of real events, or falsely represented realistic events.

Background and Rationale

The new policy stems from past criticisms Meta faced for not adequately addressing the spread of misinformation on its platforms. A notable instance was in 2019 when Meta allowed a digitally manipulated video of Nancy Pelosi to circulate, although it was not part of an ad campaign. The introduction of this policy is a response to the evolving challenges posed by AI in creating misleading content, especially in the context of political advertising.

Restrictions on Political Ads

In addition to the AI disclosure requirement, Meta will continue its practice of blocking new political, electoral, and social issue ads during the final week of the U.S. elections. This move is consistent with the company’s previous approaches to election-related advertising. These restrictions will be lifted the day following the election.

Challenges and Future Implications

This policy update comes at a time when Meta is navigating challenges, including substantial layoffs in its trust-and-safety team. The implementation of these new guidelines will be a crucial step for Meta in combatting misinformation and ensuring transparency in political advertising. This move also sets a precedent for how social media platforms might regulate the use of emerging technologies like AI in digital advertising.