Twitter is bringing greater transparency to advertising on its social network, addressing a concern of Congressional investigators probing foreign meddling during the the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
Twitter is creating a new "transparency center" that will dedicate a section to political ads that will show how much each campaign spent on advertising, the identity of the organization funding the campaign, and what demographics the ad targeted. Political ads will be required to identify their campaigns and will be indicated on Twitter with a different look and feel, the company said on Tuesday. The company said it will introduce stronger penalties for advertisers who violate policies.
Twitter is responding to concerns from the U.S. government that Russia used their platforms to spread discord in the election. Facebook has already pledged a sweeping overhaul of political advertising and said it will give Congress all the evidence it has on the campaigns. It's also hiring 4,000 workers to improve the vetting of online advertising and identification of fake accounts.
Twitter was criticized last month by lawmakers for an "inadequate" presentation into suspicious Russian activity on its network. At the time, Twitter said it disabled 22 accounts after reviewing information from Facebook showing connections to 450 bogus accounts on that company's social network. The company also disclosed that news site Russia Today spent $274,100 in U.S. ads in 2016. In that year, its Twitter accounts promoted 1,823 Tweets that targeted the U.S. market.
Beyond politics, Twitter's transparency center will show all ads that are currently running on the platform, how long they've been running, who created them, and which ones are targeted to users. Consumers will be able to report inappropriate ads or give negative feedback.