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Reddit Advertising Update to Target Political Ad Transparency

David Paul

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Reddit

The site is also launching a new subreddit that will provide information about advertisers, targeting, impressions and spending by each political campaign.

Online discussion forum Reddit says it will update its advertising policy to allow for more political transparency and prevent misleading ads on the platform.

The company is also creating a new subreddit named r/RedditPoliticalAds which is “dedicated to political ad transparency”, and lists all political advertising campaigns running on Reddit dating back to January 1, 2019. Reddit says it will update this subreddit so that it can “provide transparency into our political advertisers and the conversation their ad(s) inspires”

The company currently manually assesses each political advert for its messaging and quality before they are published on the site and will reject any coming from outside the US. They also say they only allow political ads at a federal level.

In a statement, the company said: “As the 2020 election approaches, we are updating our policy on political advertising to better reflect the role Reddit plays in the political conversation and bring high-quality political ads to Redditors.

“As a reminder, Reddit’s advertising policy already forbids deceptive, untrue, or misleading advertising (political advertisers included).”

The new rules will also require political advertisers to work directly with Reddit and allow comments on their ads for at least the first 24 hours of their campaigns.

“We will strongly encourage political advertisers to use this opportunity to engage directly with users in the comments,” the post said.

The new rules offer the deepest look into how political parties target the social media platform’s users ahead of elections. There has been recent debate around the social media industry and paid political speech online.

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The changes to Reddit, which, as of the end of 2019, has 430 million active monthly users, follow on from other social media firm’s policy changes to combat the spread of political misinformation.

Google has placed a limit on demographic targeting, while Twitter has outright banned all political advertising on the social media site.

Reddit’s vice president and general counsel, Ben Lee, told Politico in an interview: “We are trying to come up with a Reddit approach to what’s a pretty challenging debate regarding political ads.

“Why we’re making this change is basically about two things that are pretty important to us: One is encouraging conversation around political ads and the second is transparency.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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