The New York Times reports that Facebook is continuing to refuse to fact check political advertisements on its platform despite intense pressure to do so.
The New York Times reports in a recent article titled “Facebook Says It Won’t Back Down From Allowing Lies in Political Ads,” that Facebook has no plans to fact check political ads on its platform despite intense pressure to do so. Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Facebook reportedly refuses to make major changes to its ad policies or end practices such as micro-targeting which allow advertisers to focus on specific groups of Facebook users.
The New York Times writes:
“In the absence of regulation, Facebook and other companies are left to design their own policies,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management overseeing the advertising integrity division, said in the post. “We have based ours on the principle that people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”
Other social media companies have decided otherwise, and some had hoped Facebook would quietly follow their lead. In late October, Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, banned all political advertising from his network, citing the challenges that novel digital systems present to civic discourse. Google quickly followed suit with limits on political ads across some of its properties, though narrower in scope.
However, despite criticism for this hands-off approach, Facebook has refused to back down from the decision:
Criticism seemed to stiffen Mr. Zuckerberg’s resolve. Company officials said he and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s president, had ultimately made the decision to stand firm.
In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University in October, Mr. Zuckerberg said he believed in the power of unfettered speech, including in paid advertising, and did not want to be in the position to police what politicians could and could not say to constituents. Facebook’s users, he said, should be allowed to make those decisions for themselves.
“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” he said.
Read more at the New York Times here.