Twitter Inc said it will show detailed information about advertisers on the social-media service, addressing concerns from lawmakers that the company let foreign meddlers run rampant during the US presidential election. Starting this Thursday, Twitterati have been able to search for a Twitter account and see all the ads it has run in the past seven days. For US political advertisers, users will be able to see billing information, ad spending, demographic targeting data and the number of times tweets have been viewed. Twitter had been planning to create this ‘transparency center’ since last October. Facebook Inc has introduced similar features.
The changes are part of Twitter’s broader efforts to clean up its service after lawmakers berated the company for failing to discover Russian influence peddling through fake accounts and divisive ads during the 2016 US presidential election. Earlier this week, the company began requiring more authentication from users. In May, it rolled out stricter rules that require advertisers running political campaign ads for federal elections to identify themselves and certify they are located in the US. The company has also banned ads from accounts owned by Russia Today and Sputnik.
Social-media companies are rushing to regulate themselves as Congress works on new rules for digital political ads that have so far benefited from little oversight. Senators Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, have introduced the Honest Ads Act to subject online political ads to similar disclosure rules that govern TV and radio. Twitter and Facebook have endorsed the Honest Ads Act.