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Facebook still refuses to ban political ads, including false ones

While Google and Twitter have recently taken steps, Facebook still isn’t showing commitment to reforming its policies on political ads.

While Google and Twitter have recently taken steps to directly tackle the undermining of elections, the effects of misinformation and election interference, Facebook has recently announced that it will not be taking any such steps of similar measure. 

Google has decided to prevent its services from being used to target specific groups of people for political ads, and Twitter has outright banned political ads on its platform. Facebook has not outlined any similar steps in its recent statement on political ads on the platform, instead it is offering a library of political ads to browse and more user control over the number – and not accuracy or honesty – of the ads they see. 

Facebook’s inaction on this matter has had very real negative practical effects on peoples lives and nations around the world, from the US, UK, EU and elsewhere. One of the most egregious uses of the Facebook platform the company has allowed was for the spreading of rampant xenophobia and misinformation used to motivate the genocide against the Rohingya people in Myanmar. 

Facebook argues it should not be the one regulating political ads but government should, which is something made difficult by the lack of federal standard on the matter in the US. Both  Daniel Kreiss, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina and  Sam Jeffers, co-founder of Who Targets Me, an advocacy group researching political advertising both agree that it should not be up to any individual company to decide which limits to set on political ads and whether to allow them or not, but instead should be decided by journalists, academics and other forms of accountability.

Image – “Humans drink water” by  Nyszka Lutek

sources – facebook newsAPnews

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