Polish politicians do not embrace Facebook

In theory, everything is good, in practice worse. Facebook has introduced new rules for determining the financing of political ads. It was supposed to be more transparent, it came out ... it came out as usual.

Have you seen these tons of ads for politicians on Facebook? No. Exactly. The election campaign has started, the committees are advertising, and on the largest social network in Poland, the silence has been sown as a poppy seed brand. It turns out that it is not a sudden reluctance of politicians to advertise on social media, but a problem with the new system introduced on the occasion of the European Parliament elections.

First things first.

Facebook and Google were faced with a choice: either we change the system of political ads, or after every major election we will be so muddy that we can start an inter-company inventory contest.

This year, Facebook and Google have tightened the rules for publishing political ads. Nothing strange. After an incident in the brexit referendum and American elections, technology giants have had enough of being seen as tools that have the political forces in their virtual box. Somewhere in the compartment between hacker attacks and paid trolls are old good ads that are great for manipulating public opinion. Particularly good if they are broadcast on the network without any supervision and information about who is behind them .

Added to this was the problem of ads that tried to pretend that they were not part of the political campaign. Different kinds of memes from unofficial fanpages or parties sympathetic to one or the other party pretended that they are not part of the political game. When, however, these websites suddenly grow more than usual, and the existing ones suddenly become hyperactive as a fashion blogger on the sale, it is difficult not to get suspicious of them.

How does Facebook try to fix politicking on Facebook?

The main slogan of change is transparency. At first glance, we know who paid for the advertisement, and after a few mouse clicks, have access to all the other content that he sponsors. This allows, for example, to easily check who wants to simply antagonize public opinion and heats up the atmosphere by publishing aggressively anti-sign advertising, the left furiously anti-Russian, and the virulently anti-salivating nose.

According to the new rules, in order to publish advertising related to politics and elections, you must first pass authorization. The advertiser must send relevant documents to the service, based on which Facebook will confirm his identity and location. The point is that ads about local politics should not be sent from the freezing Kremlin, hot Honolulu or charming Madagascar.

Confirmation of identity will also help in the event of any irregularities. If it turns out that the advertisement breaks the standards set by the National Electoral Commission or violates the law, Facebook will be able to point it to the appropriate authorities.

A new tool is also the advertising library. This is an interesting toy designed mainly for journalists and non-governmental organizations monitoring the campaign. You can search all political and post-political advertising published on the site. In the library you will be able to check the specificity of the advertisement - how many times it has been displayed, more or less how much it was paid for, who it was targeted at (regionally), people, how old and what gender they viewed it.

Everything sounds great. But, as often in such cases, the flash of genius shines the most in implementation. Facebook has finally invested a good deal in improving the image. Under the guise of a fight for the transparency of political advertising in the network, he drew a large portion of potential political advertisers who can not cope with the new system. I do not know who the author of this plan is, but from today I will call it Miss / Mister Machiavelli. Bravo, Maestro.

Theory for five, and practice ... well, the practice is worse

We got slightly annoyed voices that electoral staffs can not cope with the new system. And indeed, when you enter the library of ads, you can see that it does not look so rosy. There are several problems.

A large part of advertisements is deactivated by Facebook, which nobody on the political side really controls. There are five ads on the Beaty Mazurek profile, but all inactive. The first was published on March 5, next on March 22, the next on April 13 and 15. Apparently, it does not bother anyone especially that Facebook regularly hides them.

Interestingly, Facebook probably does not know exactly whether to consider political ads in the form of simple posters. If only the smiling facia politician and his number on the electoral list are shown in the picture, then the advertisement will pass once and not once.

The problem is extremely apolitical, and the new rules gather their harvest both on the left and on the right side of the political scene. As Spider's Web has learned, the staffs have a problem with pasting into the section paid for by the election committee. Authorization goes through advertisements which have their first and last name in this place.

And this raises a slightly different problem. Potential conflict with the PKW regulations.

Between Facebook requirements and PKW requirements

The financing of the election campaign and all the money that they have for tabling politicians with their faces must come from the funds of registered election committees.

Electoral committees run, on an exclusive basis, an election campaign for candidates and cover expenses related to this with own resources. Conducting and financing campaign activities by other entities in order to circumvent the provisions determining the limits of expenditure of election committees is a violation of the financing principles of the election campaign and may be considered as transferring non-pecuniary benefits to the election committee in violation of Art. 132 § 5 of the Electoral Code, resulting in the rejection of the financial statements, forfeiture of the equivalent of the benefits received by the Committee to the Treasury and criminal liability - reminds PKW in a statement published on its website.

In theory, therefore, with every political advertisement in the field paid for by it should appear the name of the party's electoral committee or supper. If Facebook uses something different for Facebook, then instead of more transparency, we get a bigger mess. Suggesting that the advertisement is funded from one's own pocket or another. This is misleading the public and mixing in the minds that are focused on more important things (the picnic goes) than the tracking of electoral law.

It was supposed to be beautiful and it went out as usual. It was supposed to be transparent, clearly and on the same principles for everyone, it turned out that politicians have problems with the correct placement of their political advertisements on Facebook. Facebook, for its part, is not able to detect political ads, even if they are published by very well-known politicians.

There is still some time left for the May elections, so there is a chance that the situation will improve ... or there will be new problems.



Polish politicians do not embrace Facebook

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