Facebook has come under heavy scrutiny over its political ads over last couple of years as the company continues to take initiatives to remove false information from the platform. Recently, the social networking giant took down a political advertisement from its platform for containing false information related to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. This latest move comes as a surprise as it shows that although politicians’ advertisements aren’t fact checked by the platform, ads purchased by political groups go through the fact checking process.
The ad in question was placed by The Really Online Lefty League and contained a video that claimed that the senator had supported the Green New Deal. However, one of Facebook’s fact checking partner, Lead Stories revealed in a post that it has rated the advertisement as false and asked the company to take down the ad. Due to recent changes in its policies, Facebook does not allow advertisers to run ads that contain false information. While the post is available on the Facebook page, the video comes with a disclaimer that the video contains misinformation.
Facebook’s latest decision comes after few days earlier a New York Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Mark Zuckerberg if it’s OK for her to run false advertisement on the platform. Interestingly, the Lead Stories revealed that any individual will be able to run false political ads as the social network does not send such advertisements to third party fact checking organizations. Lead Stories wrote in a post, “Any third party posting the same claim would be eligible to be rated and since The Really Online Lefty League is not a politician (or running for office) Lead Stories has rated their ad as ‘False.”
Facebook’s decision to remove the ad from platform follows Zuckerberg’s statement that Facebook won’t limit individuals to run such advertisement as the move would limit free speech. However, a lot of politicians as well as Facebook’s own employees weren’t happy with the decision. Despite that, Zuckerberg defended the decision by saying, “From a business perspective, this controversy isn’t worth the very small part of our business that this makes up, so this isn’t about money.”