Facebook unveils new column to track political sponsored content

Facebook Inc., a social media and technology company, has reportedly added a new column that will help track political sponsored content on Instagram and Facebook.

The new column has recently been added to Facebook-owned CrowdTangle, a social media tracking tool used by publishers to track sponsored content for political campaigns. This sponsored political content will not be cataloged in Facebook’s overall public ad library.

The new CrowdTangle column will show the content created by influencers using Facebook’s branded content tool, allowing them to tag the post as a paid partnership in an official sub-header.

The upgradation was made after Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign began paying popular meme pages on Instagram (a social networking service owned by Facebook), to post sponsored political content ahead of the presidential election in the United States. The highly funded digital offensive is aimed to beat Donald Trump, the Republican President, in the 2020 presidential election in November.

Over the past few weeks, Bloomberg’s campaign has been working alongside Meme 2020, a group of influential meme makers, to continue posting the sponsored political content on social networking pages of Instagram.

Despite U.S. Federal Election Commission rules not explicitly addressing influencers on social media, the rules of the paid endorsement are different. According to those rules, any form of political online communication for a fee necessitates the inclusion of a disclaimer stating who has paid for the content.

Sources familiar with the matter have stated that Facebook reportedly reached out to Bloomberg’s campaign to deploy the disclosure tool. Facebook is also looking to improve transparency for branded content posted from private accounts. Currently Facebook requires accounts to remain public in order to post sponsored and branded content. The tactic of paying social media influencers with a vast follower base to help increase the spread of political messages is also gathering momentum among political action committees and other groups.

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