Facebook’s ‘New’ Misinformation Policy: If You Have Enough Money, Then It’s Green for Us
When it comes to telling the truth, Donald Trump makes even Richard Nixon look like a choirboy and Watergate like a minor stalking incident. Sure, when you wake up in the morning there’s no knowing through what insult he’ll mess up America, or the world, that day.
If Trump’s personal thoughts are misleading, his campaign adverts are no better. Fact-checkers must be working in sweatshop conditions by now, but given Facebook’s ads policies, they might as well not bother at all.
Facebook’s stated that while their misinformation policy “prohibits ads that include claims debunked by third party checkers”, politicians are exempt from this.
Fact checkers can instead investigate whether F.C. Millwall are the greatest or if you really are worth as much as a bottle of L’Oreal.
But Zuckerberg has drawn a line somewhere in the sand: swear words (presumably because he’s had plenty hurled at him, throughout his life).
For example, they recently took down a Trump ad that calls Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden a “bitch.” The campaign changed it adding more lies but removing cursing and voila – it’s been up ever since.
Facebook will make sure your conspiracy theories on how windmills cause cancer or Obama’s Muslim childhood reach as many of its carefully categorised users as possible. Just remember, calling someone an arsehole – That’s just unacceptable.
When Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren pointed this out, Zuckerberg was quick to respond in a company speech that claimed she’s a threat to Facebook.
To be fair, Warren may be approaching this the wrong way. She’d be better off running ads that she is 128th Native American, a 3rd Jewish and a quarter lesbian to get the liberal vote, rather than trying to stop the lizard man.
In the meantime, the Trump campaign sure has been making (great) the greatest use of Facebook’s selective misinformation policy.
Between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, the Trump campaign spent over $1 million in ads on Facebook. One of the ads falsely claims that Biden offered $1 billion to Ukraine if it fired the prosecutor investigating the company his son Hunter worked for.
The Biden Camp is furious, stating that: “[w]hether it originates from the Kremlin or Trump Tower, these lies and conspiracy theories threaten to undermine the integrity of our elections in America.”
So does meddling in political speech regulation, Facebook has argued.
But, if you think Facebook is truly the beacon of free speech, remember, the privilege only applies to politicians and wealthy campaigns.
So don’t think running a $5 ad that quotes Trump on how neo-nazis include very fine people and how “a well educated-black” has more opportunities in the job market will be allowed to stay.
Of course, there is a logic to all this. The same reason Apple removes Tibetan emojis from its platfrom or why Mercedes apologises for quoting the Dalai Lama. The accounting department dictates what goes too far and what does not. As long as there’s no swearing, that is…