Twitter, Facebook launch tools to track advertising

People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter and Facebook logo in this illustration picture.

Twitter Inc on Thursday made it easier for users to identify political campaign ads and know who paid for them, as social media platforms faced the threat of U.S. regulation over the lack of disclosure on such spending.

The microblogging site launched ‘Ads Transparency Center’ to allow anyone to view ads that have been put on Twitter, with greater transparency about U.S. federal election campaign ads.

The tool follows Twitter’s recently launched political campaign ads policy and a similar move by Facebook Inc, which started a searchable archive of U.S. political ads last month.

Facebook said on Thursday it would go even further by enabling users to see listings of all active ad campaigns, whether the advertiser is political in nature or not. Users can also view a log of name changes to a Facebook page.

The features should help people spot misuse of Facebook, it added.

Twitter’s ads center gives users access to details such as demographic targeting data for the ads from U.S. political advertisers, along with billing information, ad spending, and impression data per Tweet.

“We are making it clearer than ever who is advertising U.S. federal political campaign content on Twitter,” Twitter said in a blog post.

The transparency center will include all advertisers on Twitter globally, but at this stage only U.S. federal election campaign ads that fall under its new policy will be shown.

Google has vowed to launch a similar transparency center for political ads on its services this summer.

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