Australia

Facebook skips Aust for political ad trial

Australia has been left off a list of nations where Facebook will roll out new tools that prevent foreign powers from running political ads about elections.

Australia has been left off a list of nations that will be subject to stricter Facebook and Instagram ad rules for politicians and parties ahead of elections in 2019.

Facebook, in response to Russian interference into the 2016 US election, has been introducing new ways to verify who has paid for political ads, who saw them and what material is run over a campaign.

The social media giant on Thursday said it will roll out some tools to four places with upcoming elections, ahead of a global launch "by the end of June".

Australia - expected to go to the polls in May - wasn't listed.

Facebook, which the consumer watchdog says obtains approximately 46 per cent of Australian display advertising revenue, may still launch the product locally when Prime Minister Scott Morrison sets an election date.

Nigeria (February 16 election) and the Ukraine (March 31) will benefit from expanded Facebook ad enforcement and a ban on foreign political ads.

Meanwhile India (due April or May) will have a public, searchable ad library within weeks and the European Union (late May) will get some ad transparency rules.

Political advertisers in the US, the UK and Brazil already have to abide by all the above rules.

"By shining a light on political ads, news organisations, regulators, watchdog groups and people anywhere in the world can hold advertisers and us more accountable," Facebook said in a statement announcing the rollout.

Facebook says in the last year it has undertaken a number of measures to bolster the democratic process in Australia and around the globe.

That includes the ability to see all the ads a page is running by accessing the "info and ads" tab.

It has also promoted news literacy, increased fact checks to stop fake news and removed more fake accounts.

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