Over 250 Facebook workers slam policy that lets political leaders depend on advertisements

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Facebook lets political leaders depend on advertisements. 


Angela Lang/CNET

A questionable policy that permits political leaders to depend on Facebook advertisements has actually triggered criticism from the social media’s own workers.

“We strongly object to this policy as it stands,” Facebook workers stated in a letter gotten by The New York Times. “It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.” More than 250 workers signed the letter. 

The letter, released by the Times on Monday, describes 6 actions the business might require to fight false information in political advertisements. That consists of a more powerful visual style so users understand it’s a political advertisement, limiting advertisement targeting and topping the quantity of cash political leaders can invest in these advertisements. 

The letter was dealt with to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his executives on Facebook Workplace, a software application utilized to interact internally, according to the Times. 

The letter highlights the obstacles Facebook deals with as it attempts to do more to fight false information ahead of the 2020 United States elections. Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have actually safeguarded Facebook’s choice to let political leaders depend on advertisements even in the middle of installing criticism from civil liberties groups and Democratic legislators. Earlier this month, Zuckerberg stated throughout a speech at Georgetown University promoting totally free expression that he does not believe “most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true.” He likewise stated prohibiting political advertisements from Facebook would prefer incumbents and whoever the media chooses to cover. 

Facebook’s advertisement policy continues to be tested. The social media turned down a demand by Joe Biden‘s governmental project to eliminate a deceptive advertisement by Donald Trump’s reelection project which contained false information about the previous vice president. The advertisement consisted of a 30-2nd video on Facebook that specified Biden had actually assured Ukraine $1 billion if authorities because nation fired the district attorney examining a business associated with Biden’s kid — a claim exposed by fact-checking groups and media reports. 

Facebook informed Biden’s project in a letter that direct speech from a political leader isn’t qualified for Facebook’s third-party reality inspecting program due to the fact that it’s currently greatly inspected. To show a point about the policy, governmental prospect Elizabeth Warren, a US Democratic senator from Massachusetts, ran an advertisement including the intentionally incorrect claim that Zuckerberg backed Trump. The advertisement kept in mind that it consisted of false information and Facebook didn’t take it down.

Over the weekend, Facebook’s advertisement policy was checked once again after the political action committee The Really Online Lefty League consisted of a video that wrongly declared that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham had actually supported the Green New Deal. The environment proposition intends to lower greenhouse gases and move the United States to 100% renewable resource. Since the advertisement was published by a political group and not by a political leader, Facebook pulled it down after a third-party reality checker ranked it as incorrect. 

A Facebook spokesperson validated the letter was composed by Facebook workers. 

“Facebook’s culture is built on openness so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic,” stated Bertie Thomson, a Facebook spokesperson stated in a declaration. “We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”

An individual knowledgeable about the matter stated that the authors of the post have actually been speaking with management about it and removed the initial letter. 

Thomson decreased to state if Facebook prepared to carry out any of the options described in the letter. 

Some legislators on Monday applauded the actions of Facebook’s workers.

“Courageous workers at Facebook are now standing up to the corporation’s leadership, challenging Zuckerberg’s disturbing policy on allowing paid, targeted disinformation ads in the 2020 election,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, stated in a tweet.

Originally released Oct. 28, 12: 08 p.m. PT
Update, 12: 42 p.m. PT: Adds tweet from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.



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