Anyone wanting to purchase an election-related advertisement on Facebook’s U.S.-based social media platform will now get a postcard in the mail to verify their identity.
Citing Facebook’s Global Director of Policy Programs Katie Harbath, Reuters stated the social media giant will start using the United States Postal Service to verify a person’s identity and location if they want to purchase an ad about the election on its site. The postcard strategy is the platform’s latest attempt at responding to criticism that its social network was used in 2016 to alter the U.S. election.
Facebook’s plan comes just a day after U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies in an elaborate scheme to intervene in the presidential election. The postcard will contain a specific code that will be needed if the advertisement mentions a candidate running for a federal office. However, the postcard requirement will not be applied to political ads that only focus on certain issues.
“If you run an ad mentioning a candidate, we are going to mail you a postcard, and you will have to use that code to prove you are in the United States,” Harbath said during a conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State. “It won’t solve everything.” She noted that sending codes via snail mail was the best tactic the company could come up with to keep the Russians at bay as the midterm elections approach.
In Mueller’s indictments late last week, the special counsel laid out how Russians stole identities online to divide the country via political ads, postings and calls to action. They even pretended to be Americans to stage rallies and get Americans to engage in activities that were in favor of President Donald Trump during the run-up to the 2016 election.