Facebook and Twitter say they will allow candidates to pay them to be able to lie about opponents

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/11/facebook-and-twitter-say-they.html


What you write is critically important, and yet


So long as every such add is hidden behind a pane you have to click through to read it. Sample verbiage for the warning pane below:


I’d be ok with lying political ads if this was wrapped around them, good job!




Advertising ≠ Truth


It’s true that lying is “free speech”, but it’s also WRONG to lie, and it’s WRONG to promote lying. Trump can lie all he wants. In fact, he DOES. In fact, it’s ALL HE DOES! But that does not mean that it is moral to promote his lies. LEGAL does not necessarily equal MORAL, no matter how much some people think that it does.


Facebook already has a policy that they will not allow claims in (non-political) ads found to be false by independent fact-checking organizations. So they could apply that policy to political ads as well. And they did, until about a week ago, when they realized how much ad money they’d be missing out on.


This policy literally encourages a race to the bottom.


Lying in an advertisement for a product is fraud. Why should it be different for political ads?


Other media company founders would look at Brexit and the 2016 US election and say “hmmm, maybe we should spend a couple of years and apply some resources and smart people to fix this problem.” Not Mark and Jack, though – for them it’s all about creating a lucrative fraudster’s paradise.


Because the enforcement of the laws around fraud involves the courts, and it has been noticed that having the courts put politicians in jail for what they say leads to terrible societal results.

Lying in an advertisement is done constantly (this site has a ton of great examples in the archives) and is, at this point in history, basically never enforced. Certainly not against any of the truly rich corporations who can fund huge legal defenses.

Now that you mention it, that is a perfect example. If people keep asking for this they will get a version of this that works the same way that the legal system deals with advertising fraud: the powerful get to do whatever they want and the disadvantaged are beaten to death with the “rules” which are applied selectively.

Facebook and Twitter moderation policies for the public already display massively biased pro-right/anti-left results, due to a combination of their own biases and the fact that one side has more resources used to manipulate these systems.

davide405 gives a good alternative. You don’t need to fact-check or truth-score a political advertisement if it requires consent from the user to see it, and that consent can be required every time by getting them to positively click on a box.


For a smarter company, it would be an opportunity for data collection and analytics (one would hope in aggregate or anonymised, but you know Zuck): how many people clicked on [candidate]'s ad focused on [issue]? Selling reports back to the campaigns would provide additional revenue.

But no, better to do nothing and spend nothing and just declare a field day for fraud. What a bunch of lazy, feckless, greedy pricks.


I’m not sure what differentiates that practically from campaign finance violations. Courts can and should (and do!) fine and imprison politicians for violating law.

Sure, it only happens to small companies, like Coke, Wall-Mart, Volkswagen, etc.

The only thing these companies exchange of value is information. Misinformation is the anti-matter of information. Ultimately, it’s in FB & Twitter’s best interest to improve the quality of information they carry, and reduce the percent of misinformation. Lies are the poison contaminating their baby formula.

Your slippery slope warning doesn’t make any sense to me. Both channels already carry a lethal dose of misinformation; you’re saying they shouldn’t work to correct their process because it will make it worse?


Trump lies on Twitter all the time. The difference now is Twitter will be paid to promote those lies.


you mean exactly like they do on TV and the radio and on billboards and on the campaign trail and on the flyers they put on my door and junk mail? why would Facebook and Twitter be any different?

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More of this please.


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