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General News    H2'ed 11/10/19

Twitter Eschews Political Ads While Facebook Doubles Down

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Last year, news broke about evidence confirming Russian buyers used Facebook advertising as propaganda leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

In response, Facebook presented Congress 3,000 Russian-purchased ads through 470 phony pages and accounts intended to exploit America's racial divisions.

Facebook said at least $100,000 was spent for this purpose, a mere fraction of its political advertising during the 2016 campaign.

This motivated the House Intelligence Committee last November to release a sample of Facebook ads the Russian government-affiliated Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg troll farm, purchased about issues like immigration, religion, and race, for and against presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, and Donald Trump.

More than 11 million people between 2015 and 2017 viewed these ads.

Moreover, Russia used Facebook ads to help Trump win Michigan and Wisconsin, and to exploit our racial and religious divides.

One might assume going forward Facebook would prevent its format from being used to disseminate such lies and political propaganda.

However, the contrary is the case.

Facebook recently changed its advertising policies to make it easier for politicians to promulgate blatant lies.

Facebook now operates under the following the rules:

"[Facebook] prohibits ads that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organizations with particular expertise."

Political figures are now exempt under these new rules.

In an Oct. 17 speech at Georgetown University, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company's position:

"While I worry about an erosion of truth, I don't think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true."

He asserted voters, not tech companies, should be the arbiters of politicians' arguments, stating:

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)
 

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