Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are being ratcheted under pressure to follow suit with Twitter’s ban on political advertising. Democratic Presidential candidates request that Facebook should do it soon.
And on Wednesday following Twitter’s announcement, Zuckerberg doubled down on that stand, reiterating that Facebook is loath to interfere with it and claim the important of political speech.
During the 2016 in the U.S presidential campaign, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms have come under fire over Russia’s use of such media sites to sow political division and spread misinformation. In recent weeks a long with the 2020 White House race, that debate has heated up again.
Twitter suggested that social media is so powerful which misleading or false messages pose a risk to democracy and it chose a ban on all political advertising to respond with.
The timing of the announcement seemed designed to goad Zuckerberg, It happened the same day with Facebook’s quarterly earnings report.
President of consultancy Creative Strategies Tim Bajarin said that the pressure on Facebook was going to be extremely strong to do something similar, and the criticism of Facebook would only increase if they don’t.
Facebook and Twitter already take steps verifying the identities of political advertisers prompted by the furor over Moscow’s interference to prevent political manipulation. But the verifying systems, that rely on both automated systems and humans, have not been perfect.
Facebook mistakenly took down Bush’s baked beans ads because the food company was not registered as a political advertiser with Facebook and they contained the word “Bush”. When they promoted news stories about important issues or candidates, some media organizations have also seen their ads which flagged for review.
And then there’s the question raised about individual posts from opinion makers or other politicians, which can carry be shared widely cointaing political messages even though they are not paid ads.