Technical checks are to be used by the social network to confirm the identity and location of advertisers.

Facebook has announced that it intends to introduce new tools aimed at protecting the integrity of the upcoming European Parliament elections in May.

The new features will change the way political advertisements related to the elections are handled on-site, including asking those issuing ads to provide proof that they are indeed in the same country where the ads will be targeting Facebook users.

From today, before an advertiser can post a political or issue-based ad related to the European Parliament elections on the social network, they will have to submit identification documents proving they are in the state where the ads will appear.

A library of all the advertorial campaigns that have been classed as political is also going live, where the ads will remain so for seven years.

The tools – which will be rolled out on both Facebook and Instagram – have already been implemented in countries that held elections in the past year, including the mid-term polls in the United States, as well as Brazil and India.

"We will be using a combination of automated systems and user reporting to enforce this policy," said Richard Allan, Vice-President, Global Policy Solutions at Facebook.

"We recognise that some people can try and work around any system but we are confident this will be a real barrier for anyone thinking of using our ads to interfere in an election from outside of a country."

Political or issue-based adverts on Facebook or Instagram in the EU will also have to carry a label outlining who has paid for them and what their contact details are.

"When you click on the label, you'll be able to see more information such as the campaign budget associated with an individual ad, how many people saw it and their age, location and gender," Mr Allan said.

"We are inviting all political campaigns to start the ads authorisation process now and we will start to block political or issue ads that have not been properly registered from mid-April."

Understanding that the system may subsequently be flawed, Facebook is also asking for the public's help in policing it.

It says it wants anyone who spots an ad that they think should be labelled as being political or issue-based but is not, to report it to them.

It's expected that such measures have taken place following the meticulous analysis of online activity since Trump's inauguration back in 2016, with many believing that the Russian government infiltrated the election. 

The political inquiry into this conspiracy, led by widely respected former director of the FBI Robert Mueller, found no evidence of a Russian link. 

Google implemented similar rules in Ireland in the run-up to the Eighth Amendment referendum last year. In the weeks before polling day, Facebook banned all referendum related ads from advertisers based outside of Ireland and then further prohibited all advertisements pertaining to the vote. 

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