Employees at Facebook recently signed a letter asking the company to reverse its decision to exempt political candidates’ ads from its fact-checking program.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in an open letter posted to Facebook’s internal network and signed by 250 employees at tech giant Facebook asks the firm to reverse its decision to exempt political candidates’ ads from the company’s fact-checking program.
In the letter, the employees state: “Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing,” and argue that exempting candidates’ ads from fact-checking “allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.”
The signed letter representing 250 employees only accounts for less than 1 percent of Facebook’s 40,000-person staff but does put pressure publicly on Facebook to review its fact-checking policies. In response to the letter, a Facebook spokesperson stated:
Facebook’s culture is built on openness so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic. We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.
In the letter, employees argued that Facebook’s decision not to fact-check candidates’ ads runs contrary to its two-year effort to fight misinformation on the platform. The letter also asked Facebook to better distinguish political ads from user-created content and to limit political advertisers’ ability to address ads to focus on custom-designed audiences, such as targeting specific areas or ethnicities.
“Currently we restrict targeting for housing and education and credit verticals due to a history of discrimination,” the letter said. “We look forward to working towards solutions together,” the letter concludes. “This is still our company.”