Editorial: Facebook’s push for transparency

Deny it all you want — the internet probably has more sway over your life than you’d care to believe.

For years it’s done our work, our shopping, our taxes and our socializing. Now it does our political campaigning, too.

Facebook announced plans in April to implement new policies aimed at improving how the company handles what they call political and “issue” ads.

People using the platform can now get in-depth sponsor information and demographic breakdowns for political ads, including who paid for the ad, how much it cost and who it reached.

The company claims “greater transparency will lead to increased responsibility and accountability over time for advertisers.”

This is a great first step in addressing the crisis of misinformation online and an appropriate direction to take after the controversy regarding foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

As midterm elections approach, the nation will be watching to see how the new policies fare.

It is also a smart response to the dissenters that wanted the ads removed altogether.

Getting rid of them entirely, these people argued, would be the only way to reliably ensure no foreign interference in domestic U.S. political affairs.

Disallowing political ads of any kind on Facebook would deny certain candidates a valuable campaign platform and grant deeper-pocketed incumbents more leverage over younger politicians.

It’s important we recognize the internet as the great equalizer it is, while still being mindful of the ways in which it can mislead and manipulate us.

Facebook is gargantuan. It is often easy to forget how young (just over 14 years) the company truly is, and it’s had to evolve rather quickly in an era when information fabrication is all too common.

Time will tell if this new approach will prove effective in keeping U.S. politics within the purview of the U.S.

But for now, it’s a commendable effort by the company, and an important reminder of just how powerful the digital world has become.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of Opinion Editor Shay Cohen, Editor-in-Chief Narda Perez, News Editor Samantha Douty, Life and Entertainment Editor Maxwell Hilliard, Copy Desk Chief Caitlin Sherrill, Sports Reporter Dallas Johnson and News Reporter Jacob Reyes.

Opinion: Sorry to burst your political bubble
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