(Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Tuesday unveiled a searchable database that will provide information on spending by advertisers for political ads and issues of national importance in the run-up to the midterm elections.
The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters is seen through two moving buses in Menlo Park, California, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
The move comes as social media platforms face the threat of U.S. regulation over the lack of disclosure on such spending.
Facebook also has faced a barrage of criticism from users and lawmakers after it said last year that Russian agents used its platform to spread misinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation Moscow denies.
The database called “Ad Archive Report” will be updated weekly with details on who spent how much for political ads. For example, a page supporting Texas Democratic U.S. Senate contender Beto O’Rourke, reveals spending of $5.4 million from May-Oct. 20. The page name is “Beto for Texas”.
The Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a fundraising organization for President Donald Trump, was second during the period with spending of $3.1 million.
The report, which houses political ads for up to seven years, will be available to anyone regardless of whether they are a Facebook user or not, the company said.
Alphabet Inc’s Google launched a similar feature in August.
Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr