People managing Facebook pages with large American followings will now need to take extra steps to verify their identity, according to an announcement made by the company today. Now, if these managers want to continue to post on their pages, they’ll need to complete an “authorization process” that includes enabling two-factor authentication and confirming what country they’re based in.
If a page manager needs to authorize their account, they’ll get a notice at the top of their newsfeed later this month, Facebook says. They won’t be able to post on their page until they completely this process. This information will be added into a forthcoming site section called “People Who Manage This Page,” which will list which countries these pages are being managing from. While this will initially appear on pages with a large US audience, it appears that Facebook will eventually be rolling out this feature across all pages.
When asked how large the pages had to be to fall under this category, Facebook declined to comment. “We aren’t sharing exact numbers, as bad actors may use it to game the system.” a spokesperson said. Facebook also said it would only be verifying page managers’ locations by checking the location on their phone, rather than requiring physical identification as it has with ad sales in some cases.
Facebook’s rolling out these changes as the company grapples with its platform’s role in interfering with the 2016 election. Their first change came back in April, when the company put up a requirement that politically minded advertisers needed to disclose their identity and location. This latest change, meanwhile, is focused on pages, not ads, which are an important slice of the disinformation network. While Russia’s Internet Research Agency was able to sow political discontent in part by paying $100,000 to place political ads on the platform, much of its disinformation came from a slew of fake accounts and pages. By requiring that page owners unmask their location, it’s possible that Facebook can close down any future meddling by any foreign groups.
Aside from the admin verification, other changes are coming to pages, too — most notably in the Info and Ads section. Users can now find out when a page merges with another page by looking into its history. According to Facebook, sister company Instagram will be rolling out similar features to unwrap information about profiles with large fanbases.
“Our goal is to prevent organizations and individuals from creating accounts that mislead people about who they are or what they’re doing,” Facebook said in a statement. “These updates are part of our continued efforts to increase authenticity and transparency of Pages on our platform.”