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Facebook is standing firm in allowing lies in political ads

Posted by / June 13, 2020

Despite the tremendous pressure from inside and outside the company, Facebook will not change its policy on (not) fact-checking political ads.

Despite calls from civil rights leaders to curtail Trump’s (and Trump-inspired) calls to violence, Facebook has refused. Over 140 scientists who are funded by Zuckerberg and his wife have signed a letter condemning Zuckerberg for letting Trump spread misinformation. And now, Facebook employees are considering ceasing interviewing new employees to protest Zuckerberg’s inaction.

Last week, satirical websites went after Mark Zuckerberg hard by calling him a child molester and saying he’s dead. They’re not doing so just to be jerks. Instead, they’re trying to test Facebook’s refusal to factcheck its content. This story is especially significant given two things: Trump’s ongoing battle with Twitter and accusations of political corruption previously levied against Zuckerberg.

The past weeks compound the bad publicity Facebook has been gathering since Mark Zuckerberg’s secret dinner at the White House while Facebook was under scrutiny for potentially violating antitrust legislation.

Zuckerberg was also recorded calling Elizabeth Warren’s campaign an “existential” threat to Facebook. Zuckerberg met with Donald Trump, after which Facebook announced it would no longer fact check or otherwise censor political content. Coincidence? Warren didn’t think so. In a series of tweets, she called out Facebook for its political bias.

Facebook’s only attempt to weed out the toxic, fake news articles is highly questionable, and not just because it’s run by someone with open bias. The head of its news partnerships, Campbell Brown, cofounded a website that publishes anti-Warren ads. Facebook also faced backlash after it included the infamous news site Breitbart on its new “high quality” news tab. That news outlet has been widely criticized for posting extremist, “alt-right” content and conspiracy theories.

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