Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has tweeted out her support to the Facebook workers who are lobbying CEO Mark Zuckerberg to censor ads from politicians.
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: https://t.co/jDJE7WplVy
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 28, 2019
In the tweet, Ocasio-Cortez frames Facebook’s decision to not “fact-check” and reject some ads from politicians as “disturbing” and describes the employees who are challenging this policy as “courageous.”
Over 250 Facebook employees have signed an open letter saying that letting politicians speak freely in ads is “a threat to what FB stands for.” The open letter also proposes placing the following limits on politicians when running ads:
- Hold political ads to the same standards as other ads (which would mean all political ads would be fact-checked and rejected if labeled “false.”)
- Stronger visual design treatment for political ads (which would give Facebook greater control over the visuals politicians use in their ads)
- Restrict targeting for political ads (which would prevent politicians from using targeting features that are available to most other advertisers)
- Broader observance of the election silence periods (which would prevent politicians from running ads during these periods)
- Spend caps for individual politicians, regardless of source
- Clearer policies for political ads (which would change the way political ads are displayed)
Facebook spokeswoman Bertie Thomson responded to the open letter by saying: “We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”
Zuckerberg has also highlighted that Facebook’s policies around political ads are largely in line with those of other social networks and many American television broadcasters.