Politics Magazine

If Social Media Can't Ban Lying, Should It Run Political Ads?

Posted on the 01 November 2019 by Jobsanger
If Social Media Can't Ban Lying, Should It Run Political Ads?
The chart above reflects the result of a recent YouGov Poll. They questioned 2,913 adults on October 31st -- asking them if they would support banning all political ads on social media for a year before an election. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of such a ban.
There has recently been a lot of discussion about social media running political ads. It started because of an ad run by Trump/Republicans that accused Joe Biden and his son of corruption regarding the younger Biden's connection with a Ukrainian gas company. The ads is a lie, since there is absolutely no proof of any corruption.
Mark Zuckerberg, and his company (Facebook), have refused to take the ad down. Zuckerberg tried to claim it would be a violation of free speech to censor a politician's ads. He obviously doesn't understand free speech. The constitutional guarantee of free speech just prevents the government from censoring political speech. It does not (and should not) prevent a private company from banning political speech that is nothing but lies. Allowing untrue political ads is not a service to the American public, but to dishonest politicians.
I suspect Zuckerberg is either afraid of the blowback his company would receive if it banned the lies by Trump and the Republicans (which they do repeatedly and often), or his company doesn't have the ability to police the political ads they are paid to run. Neither is an acceptable excuse to allow politicians to lie to the public.
A California left-wing PAC sought to expose Facebook's policy by running an ad saying the Republicans love the Green New Deal (an obvious untruth, since the GOP doesn't even understand it, let alone support it). Facebook banned the ad, saying it was run by a Pac and not someone running for office. The PAC's leader then filed to run as a candidate for governor, and again placed the ad. Facebook again banned it, saying he was not a real candidate.
That is rather disingenuous. If Facebook has the ability to determine who is a real candidate and who is not, then they should be able to determine when a politician is lying in an ad. If they can't, then they probably shouldn't run any political ads at all -- from any politician or political party.
The American public would support that. Note the chart above. Overwhelming majorities of Americans (in every group) supporting banning political ads from social media (like Facebook) for a year before an election. I agree.
If Facebook can't do it right, they shouldn't do it at all!

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