Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Facebook will send postcards to verify US election ad buyers

It's using old-school mail to thwart digital manipulation.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
February 17, 2018
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook has a new yet very old solution to fighting Russian manipulation attempts during future US elections: conventional mail. Global policy program director Katie Harbath has revealed that the social network will send postcards to verify the identities and locations of anyone hoping to buy ads related to federal-level candidates. Recipients will have to enter a code on the postcard to prove that they are, in fact, living in the US. The requirement won't apply to state-level candidates or ads based around issues.

There's no specific time frame for when the cards will take effect, but they should be in use before the 2018 mid-term elections in November.

Harbath acknowledged to Reuters that this "won't solve everything." A determined foreign manipulation effort could rely on US-based volunteers, for instance, and this won't help if there are any plans to skew smaller votes. There's also no mention of using this approach for other countries. However, this could thwart many 'casual' attempts at persuading voters from afar, and might help Facebook address politicians' concerns that it isn't doing enough to keep Russia from meddling in American politics.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Spotify Wrapped chronicles your 2020 listening habits in a stories-style format

Spotify Wrapped chronicles your 2020 listening habits in a stories-style format

View
Watch the trailer for Studio Ghibli's first fully CG movie

Watch the trailer for Studio Ghibli's first fully CG movie

View
The Arecibo Observatory's telescope has collapsed

The Arecibo Observatory's telescope has collapsed

View
Amazon Sidewalk will be enabled by default on Echo devices

Amazon Sidewalk will be enabled by default on Echo devices

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr