Invisible transparency: Visual attention to disclosures and source recognition in Facebook political advertising

Abstract: In an effort to improve transparency, Facebook changed its disclosures on in-feed native political advertisements in 2018 to include language that identifies who paid for the ad to appear. The present study (N = 120) utilized a between-participants eye-tracking experiment to assess the impact of three different disclosure conditions on Facebook users’ visual attention to the disclosure, recall of the disclosure, and the ability to identify the sponsor of the advertisement. Findings suggest that while users do give visual attention to Facebook’s new political ad disclosure, the disclosure language is not effective at enhancing users’ comprehension of who paid the political advertisements.