As the US continues to uncover the effects of Russian manipulation on its elections, Facebook has found itself desperately trying to fix its platform to eliminate interference and regain trust. Now the social media company has come up with one solution to improve its advertising during the US elections to come: physically mailing verification postcards.
The postcards will be used to verify the locations of anyone attempting to buy election-related advertisements; they’ll only be mailed to US addresses, and include a unique code that the advertisers must give back to Facebook. This system will be used for any advertising that makes specific mention of a candidate running at the federal level, meaning the verification postcards won’t be required for ads based on political issues or for state-level candidates.
Unfortunately, it sounds like this verification system will do little to prevent those already operating in the US from buying advertisements, not to mention highly organized manipulation efforts overseas from simply relying on a single person with a US address.
There’s no specific timeframe for when Facebook will start using the postcards, but Global policy program director Katie Harbath told Reuters that it will go into effect by the upcoming mid-term elections in November. The system “won’t solve everything,” Harbath admitted, but Facebook believes it could help prevent “casual” attempts by foreign nationals trying to influence US politics.