Senators Want Facebook To Fix Ad Transparency Tool

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Andrew Harnik/AP

Featured eBooks

The Government's Artificial Intelligence Reality
What’s Next for Federal Customer Experience
What's Next for Government Data

Once again, lawmakers aren't happy with Facebook.

Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va. and Amy Klobuchar, D.-Minn., wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to fix the site's ad transparency tool. 

Facebook introduced advertising rules in May to help crack down on political misinformation campaigns that require anyone buying a political add to verify their identity and location before the ad could be posted.

Both senators called for something similar in a piece of legislation, the Honest Ads Act, they introduced in June.

But the new tool that verifies ad-buyers' identities is easily abused and still allows ads from buyers with falsified identities to slip through. Recently, an Iranian campaign was able to buy ads on Facebook and Instagram through the revamped process. Facebook has since removed the 82 associated accounts.

Warner and Klobuchar are specifically calling for Facebook to use human reviewers to vet advertisements.

"The fact that Facebook’s new security tools allow users to intentionally misidentify who placed political ads is unacceptable. That Facebook is unable to recognize ads connected to a well-established foreign interference operation is also deeply troubling," the pair wrote. "Both point to a central vulnerability that enables these kinds of ads: Facebook’s failure to utilize human reviewers of the political ads it sells."

Facebook says it is trying to address the abuse issue.

"We're exploring additional checks to help prevent abuse and will respond to requests from law enforcement and election officials now and in the future, if new requirements arise," Rob Leathern, Facebook's director of product management said in a statement.