Facebook Announces New Rules Ahead of August Elections

  • A silhouette image of people using the Facebook application.
    A silhouette image of people using the Facebook application.
  • Meta formerly known as Facebook has announced a set of new rules majorly targeting advertisers in the country ahead of the August polls.

    The new rules come with tools and resources that provide more information about political advertising on Facebook and Instagram months before Kenyans go to the ballot.

    According to the new rules, advertisers seeking to run various political ads will have to undergo a verification process to prove their identity including their location.

    File photo of Kenyans in a queue waiting to cast their vote in a past election.
    File photo of Kenyans in a queue waiting to cast their vote in the 2017 General Election.

    Before allowing them to run, Meta will run additional checks to ascertain if the adverts comply with their set policies.

    "Political advertisers in Kenya will also be labelled with a “Paid for by” disclaimer to show who’s behind the advert," Meta stated.

    The social media giant will further archive the adverts in their library to ensure that all their subscribers can have access to them. They will be stored for a period of seven years.

    "Meta will at the same time put political adverts that run in Kenya on its advertisements Library so that everyone can see what adverts are running, information about targeting, and how much was spent. This fully searchable archive will store these adverts for seven years," the company stated.

    According to the social firm, the new rules and tools are aimed at ensuring transparency in political advertising during the electioneering period.

    They are also meant to ensure that advertisers reach and engage their supporters in a more efficient way during the elections period.
    The new rules come just months after the company launched more controls allowing users to choose the information they want to interact with on their timeliness.

     Mercy Ndegwa, Meta’s Public Policy Director, East and Horn of Africa noted that the new rules are part of the larger technological advancements being undertaken by the company.

    "Meta has continued to invest in technology towards election integrity. We believe political discussion and debate should be transparent to every voter, which is why over the past few years we’ve introduced a number of tools that provide more information about political ads on Facebook and Instagram," she stated.

    The rules come even as Kenya announced that it will not shut down social media during the election period. While making the announcement, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi maintained that the government will only regulate the use of various social media platforms to avoid spreading misinformation and inciting content.

    Social media platforms have in the past been used by political leaders to skew information and mislead the electorates during the campaigns and voting period.

    Kenyan electoral ballots
    Ballot boxes that were used during the Msambweni by-elections on December 14, 2020.