Facebook calls on Albanian parties to be transparent in ads


TIRANA, Albania — Facebook said Monday that Albanian political parties should be transparent on how they finance their political advertising on its pages before next month’s election.

A statement from Facebook said that starting Thursday “all electoral and political ads in Albania must come from authorized advertisers and include “Paid for by” disclaimers.” They should be authorized in the country.

Albania holds a parliamentary election April 25. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the electoral campaign will very likely play out in large part on social media, including Facebook.

The country has strict pandemic measures in place, including an overnight curfew, the mandatory use of face masks and no gatherings with more than 10 people are allowed.

Since June 2019, Facebook has made its ad transparency tools available globally, which enabled advertisers to become authorized to run political ads, place “Paid for by” disclaimers on their ads, and enter their ads in the Ad Library for seven years, according to a statement distributed by the V+O Communication media relations company and authorized by Facebook.

Post-communist Albania’s elections have always been strongly contested and frequently marred by irregularities during the campaign and on voting day, including alleged vote-buying and manipulation of ballot counts.

A good report from international observers on the election will be a key condition for Albania to start full negotiations to join the European Union. Last year, the bloc gave the green light but has yet to set the date for the talks to start.

Albania has been a NATO member since 2009.

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