Why would Facebook allow a Politician to Lie, but Not a member of a Superpac or other Activists?
Adriel Hampton, a San Francisco political activist is running for governor in the upcoming 2022 election, but not for the reasons you might think. And no, this is not fake news. Mr. Hapton is running to demonstrate the inherent hypocrisy in Facebook’s policy on fact-checking. Apparently, Facebook’s policy allows political figures to lie in ads!
Again, this is not fake news or hyperbole. In fact, in an exchange with Alexendria Ocasio-Crotez (D-NY), Mark Zuckerberg was asked “Could I run ads targeting republicans in primaries saying they voted for the Green New deal?”, to which Mr. Zukerber quietly replied, “Probably”.
According to Facebook’s guidelines on ads, there are 32 categories of prohibited content. Of the 32 there are at least 9 (listed below) that might be used to disqualify most political ads. Any of the categories below can be used to disqualify ads targeting republicans in primaries by suggesting they voted for the Green New Deal. So what’s up with that Mark?
Perhaps, Mr. Zuckerberg is concerned of the financial impact to Facebook should deceptive political ads be banned. The reality is that the total amount of revenue generated by political ads is likely a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of Facebook Ads. Unlike Facebook, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Mr. Trump's favorite platform, Twitter, announced that they would be banning political ads. Of course, one can argue Twitter has less to lose.
So let’s get real, and start asking ourselves why Facebook continues to maintain this position. Let’s also not forget the not too long ago Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a secret conspiracy out there (that I won't even bother to imagine). The fact of the matter is, this is just a horrible position for Facebook to keep, and they should seriously reconsider what they are doing. With fewer users finding Facebook as their go-to social media platform, and younger people looking for alternatives like Snapchat and Tik-Tok, it’s just one more reason to ditch Facebook.
From Facebook’s Guidelines on Ads
- 1. Community Standards
Ads must not violate our Community Standards. Ads on Instagram must not violate the Instagram Community Guidelines.
- 11. Sensational Content
Ads must not contain shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content.
- 13. Misinformation
Facebook prohibits ads that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organizations with particular expertise. Advertisers that repeatedly post information deemed to be false may have restrictions placed on their ability to advertise on Facebook. Find out more about Fact Checking on Facebook here.
- 14. Controversial Content
Ads must not contain content that exploits controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes.
- 23. Counterfeit Documents
Ads may not promote fake documents, such as counterfeit degrees, passports or immigration papers.
- 24. Low Quality or Disruptive Content
Ads must not contain content leading to external landing pages that provide an unexpected or disruptive experience. This includes misleading ad positionings, such as overly sensationalized headlines or prompts for users to inauthentically interact with the ad, and leading people to landing pages that contain minimal original content and a majority of unrelated or low-quality ad content. For more information on what we consider low quality, visit our Ads
- 29. Prohibited Financial Products and Services
Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.
- 31. Misleading Claims
Ads must not contain deceptive, false, or misleading claims like those relating to the effectiveness or characteristics of a product or service or claims setting unrealistic expectations for users such as misleading health, employment or weight-loss claims.
- 32. Unacceptable Business Practices
Ads must not promote products, services, schemes or offers using deceptive or misleading practices, including those meant to scam people out of money or personal information.