Twitter Inc. (TWTR.N) plans to introduce extra checks and publish more information around political ads in Europe, stepping up efforts to combat disinformation online amid worries Russia or other actors could try to meddle with European Union elections in May.
The EU in late January warned tech companies to intensify efforts to combat disinformation on their platforms ahead of European elections, or face regulation.
Starting March 11, political advertisers looking to post ads related to the European Parliament elections will have to verify their identities with Twitter and confirm their location is based in the EU, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.
The ads will carry disclaimers about who paid for the ads and will be entered indefinitely into a publicly searchable database, where it will also display billing information, how much was spent and who was targeted.
The European Parliament elections "are critically important to us," Karen White, director for Public Policy for Europe at Twitter, said in an interview. She said the ads policies will be introduced in national elections in Europe in the near future and added the company has also formed a team to monitor trends and escalate any potential threats.
Twitter, along with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc, signed a code of conduct in September pledging to fight disinformation online in Europe. Google and Facebook have also started to deploy transparency tools for political ads in Europe after an initial roll-out in the U.S., including disclaimers under the ads and requiring ID checks from advertisers.