Hundreds of Facebook employees recently signed a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, raising concerns over the company’s policy towards political adverts. The staff were concerned about the social media giant’s policy of allowing politicians to post adverts containing false claims.
In the letter, reproduced by the New York Times, the Facebook employees said they were “worried we’re on track to undo the great strides our product teams have made in integrity over the last two years. We work here because we care, because we know that even our smallest choices impact communities at an astounding scale.”
Furthermore, the Facebook staffers said:
Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing. Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.
Suggestions to Improve Facebook Political Advertising
The employees made a number of suggestions for Facebook political advertising.
- Hold political ads to the same standard as other ads.
- Stronger visual design treatment for political ads
- Restrict targeting for political ads.
- Broader observance of the election silence periods
- Spend caps for individual politicians, regardless of source
- Clearer policies for political ads
‘This is Still Our Company’
The Facebook employees ended on hard-hitting but positive note:
We are proud of the work that the integrity teams have done, and we don’t want to see that undermined by policy. Over the coming months, we’ll continue this conversation, and we look forward to working towards solutions together. This is still our company.