In its latest effort to improve content transparency in the lead up to the US election, Facebook is adding new location markers on individual business profile posts, on both Facebook and Instagram, which will highlight where the managers of that page or account are primarily located, helping to provide additional context.
As you can see in this example, there’s a new ‘Poster based in Brazil’ note at the top of the Facebook Page post.
As explained by Facebook:
“In 2018 we started giving people more context about Facebook Pages, including the primary country location of the people who manage a Page, so people can better understand who’s behind it. We also launched About this Account on Instagram to provide additional context so people can evaluate the authenticity of an account. Today, we’re going a step further to provide the location of high-reach Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts on every post they share, so people have more information to help them gauge the reliability and authenticity of the content they see in their feeds.”
As we get closer to the 2020 US Presidential Election, Facebook will be looking to provide as much transparency as possible to help people understand the information they’re seeing on the platform, and what the poster’s motivation may be behind each update.
And definitely, this type of information is interesting to note – if you see a post about US politics, for example, and the page manager is based in the UK, that could change your opinion on their commentary, as it would be coming from someone who’s not directly impacted by the same.
The main example here, of course, is how Russian-based operatives sought to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election by sharing posts on various social platforms that aimed to provoke tensions within the US and push voters one way or another.
The above post is an example of one of the ads that were found to have come from Russian activists, and you can imagine that if it had this new location marker at the top, it would likely reduce the potential relevance, and influence, of such.
It makes sense, and while it may reveal a few surprises here and there, for the most part, it seems like a beneficial addition – again, particularly in relation to the upcoming election campaign.
The new listings will initially only be added to large Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts in the US, starting specifically with those profiles that are managed outside the US but reach large audiences within America. And while the notifiers don’t stand out a heap, it will help to make more people aware of where their news sources are biased, which could prompt a re-think on what’s being shared, and why, and may help to reduce outside influence efforts.