California, March 5: Facebook is prohibiting election advertisements for Indonesia's presidential election that are purchased from outside the country. For upcoming elections for the European Parliament and India, it has said advertisers will need to be authorised to buy political ads and a new tool will provide information about an ad's budget, the number of people it reached and demographics about who saw the ad, including age, gender and location.
The announcement on Facebook's website said the restriction in Indonesia took effect on Monday morning and is part of "safeguarding election integrity on our platform." It said the restriction applies to any ads coming from an advertiser based outside of the country "if it references politicians or political parties or attempts to encourage or suppress voting."
The social media company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp and has about 2.3 billion users for its Facebook site alone, said it's using a mix of automated and human intervention to identify foreign-funded election ads.
Facebook and other internet companies are facing increased scrutiny over how they handle private user data and have been lambasted for not doing enough to stop misuse of their platforms by groups trying to sway elections.
Indonesia votes for a president on April 17. The campaign pits incumbent leader Joko Widodo against ultra-nationalist former General Prabowo Subianto, who was narrowly defeated by Widodo in 2014.