Facebook taking money to promote lies!
Published: 08:52 PM, 14 October 2019
A days-long feud between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Facebook intensified over the weekend as Warren openly accused the company of “taking money to promote lies.” — reports CNN.
Warren, a leading Democratic 2020 candidate, has taken aim at the social media giant over its role in spreading disinformation against her and other candidates. Her campaign ran an ad on Facebook this past week that contained a deliberate lie to draw further attention to the issue.
That provocative move came after a recording leaked earlier this month of CEO Mark Zuckerberg telling employees that a Warren presidency would “suck” for the company.
Facebook fired back at Warren over the weekend via another social media platform, Twitter, where the company compared itself to broadcast television stations that ran the Trump ad and are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.
The “FCC doesn’t want broadcast companies censoring candidates’ speech,” Facebook said in a tweet. “We agree it’s better to let voters — not companies — decide.”
The comparison opened the door to additional scrutiny of Facebook’s role in handling political speech. Facebook declined to comment for this story.
In response, Warren said the company's decision to compare itself to heavily regulated broadcasters raised even more questions about how it should be managed.
“You’re making my point here,” she tweeted. “It’s up to you whether you take money to promote lies.”
The episode underscores how Facebook is trying to maintain its position as a neutral platform even as it acquires ever more influence over public discourse and information — and as it seeks to address weaknesses that made it a vehicle for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Under current policy, Facebook exempts ads by politicians from third-party fact-checking — a loophole, Warren says, that allows Zuckerberg to continue taking “gobs of money” from President Donald Trump’s campaign despite Trump’s ads telling untruths about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump’s efforts to pursue unfounded claims about the Bidens are at the heart of the burgeoning impeachment inquiry facing the President.
The Warren fight over ads highlights the collapsing distinction between traditional broadcast media and 21st-century digital platforms, experts say, raising fresh questions about how decades-old regulations concerning political speech should apply to massive online platforms that can influence millions of voters.
According to some legal analysts, it exposes the limits of Facebook’s arguments that it is not a media company.
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