“Political message reach should be earned, not bought” : Twitter stops political ads but Facebook doesn’t !
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, announced on Wednesday, October 30th that he wants to ban all political advertisements on its platform. Despite the fact that Facebook will not forbid any political advertisings, even if they are false.
Should political ads be banned online?
Facebook adopts a controversial position allowing politicians to run false advertisements on its social media. In fact, Facebook doesn’t check the content after being published. However, Jack Dorsey posted on Twitter a message which explains his decision by presenting many arguments. The most important being:
We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.
He considers that people’s decisions “should not be compromised by money” because it can be used to influence voters and affect the lives of millions. Jack Dorsey’s messages followed and reacted to the public hearing from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s leader said he would not prohibit political ads from his social media due to the benefit of freedom of expression.
The problem of lack of fact-checking is the weaponization of this platform, as it targets people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy. The official policy of Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread fake news.
How to avoid another scandal like Cambridge Analytica?
Mark Zuckerberg has defended himself in front of Congress heard by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Republican house representative, about his choice to not include fact-checking. He justified his conviction:
I believe in giving to people a voice. I believe political ads can be an important part of voice, especially in the political process to challenge our candidates.
Finally, this debate is a global question. In fact, Facebook has allowed United Kingdom election candidates to run false ads during Britain’s Brexit election. Tough Facebook is criticized for the political ads, political campaign laws are also not adapted and are outdated. Despite all that, the law has not changed!
It is hard to predict whether we could see another Cambridge Analytica-like event because platforms have been so obscure during the United States election and Brexit. This social media should be forced to communicate how they really manage political advertisements during elections.