Facebook approved fake Brexit ad 'paid for by Cambridge Analytica'

Facebook approved fake Brexit ad 'paid for by Cambridge Analytica'

   November 01, 2018  
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Facebook approved fake Brexit ad 'paid for by Cambridge Analytica'

Facebook's new political advertising tool is under fire after approving a fake pro-Brexit advert marked as "paid for by Cambridge Analytica".

The anti-immigration advert ran for two days this week backing the Leave EU campaign, despite being marked as promoted by the now-defunct political consultancy that was this year involved in a scandal over manipulation of Facebook users.

The advert stated: "Our current system is broken. We need an immigration system that ensures British young people more jobs".

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The ad was paid for by Business Insider as part of an investigation into Facebook's political advertising tool, which was launched in the UK this month in an effort to clamp down on election fraud.

The tool is designed to force British political parties to verify their identity and location if they want to take out ads on Facebook.

Russia-linked groups

Despite this, journalists bought two fake adverts using imagery from the Vote Leave and BeLeave campaigns that ran during the UK's Brexit referendum. BeLeave was discovered to have broken electoral law in July.

A Facebook spokesman said: “This ad was not created by Cambridge Analytica. It is fake, violates our policies and has been taken down. We believe people on Facebook should know who is behind the political ads they’re seeing which is why we are creating the Ads Library so that you can see who is accountable for any political ad. We have tools for anyone to report suspicious activity such as this.”

Vice News was also able to game the system in the US and posted 100 adverts on behalf of senators last week as part of an investigation into the tool.

Facebook was at the heart of claims surrounding fake political advertising and misinformation during the 2016 US elections when Russia-linked groups used adverts and articles spread via Facebook to sow discord.

Adverts on the social network were also used during the Brexit referendum and linked to claims of overspending by the Vote Leave campaign.

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