According to reports, Facebook is contemplating on how it handles its political ads given the amount of scrutiny the social network is under in the recent times. Facebook’s most controversial policy however; remains unchanged where the company allows politicians to run false ads.
The aspects on which Facebook is mulling over has to do with how the ads are labeled, where the payment of ads is coming from and how can these political ads be targeted; according to sources.
This might pacify a few of the company’s ardent critics but its fact- checking policy will continue to face backlash undoubtedly. Changes over policies are being mulled over by the tech giant, Google which owns YouTube as well.
As per certain critics and employees of Facebook, the company’s practice of allowing advertisers to target specific groups with ads can decrease the probability of the opposite political party or campaign and even the press a chance at providing transparency in the form of fact- checks, thus undermining political discourse.
Having spend over $14 million Facebook ads this years, President Donald Trump’s re- election campaign is the biggest political spender currently which runs targeted ads on a daily basis. Next in the line are spenders on the opposite side, whose spending are amounting to $9 million and $5 million by Tom Steyer and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttgieg respectively.
On an Oregan Democrat; Senator Ron Wayden’s calling out both Google and Facebook to stop these above mentioned practices, neither of the two gave him a specific response. Bill Gates, the co- founder of Microsoft stated in a conference held by New York Times this week on Wednesday; that ad targeting should be banned.
Twitter on the other hand has taken an entirely different route around these things it has opted out of accepting any type of political ads, as per the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey’s announcement last week.
Andrew Gray is a drug policy researcher affiliated with the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the NYU School of Medicine in New York University, New York, NY 10016, United States.