Facebook Fails To Prevent PACs From Lying In Ads

Facebook has had nearly four years since the tumultuous 2016 election cycle, when fake news ran rampant on the service, to come up with new policies on political advertising.

Yet today, just five weeks before the next presidential election, Facebook is still allowing groups to spread incorrect information about candidates to voters, according to preliminary research by advocacy group Avaaz.

Facebook's official policy allows politicians to lie in ads, but prohibits political action committees from doing the same. In practice, Facebook's enforcement appears to be lacking. 

Consider this: The pro-Trump political action committee “America First Action” recently paid Facebook nearly $300,000 to spread 450 untruthful ads about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, according to Avaaz.

The ads, which began running in the middle of August, have garnered more than 9.4 million views in four swing states -- Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania, Avaaz reports in a study first publicized this week by CNN.

The ads spread false or misleading information about Biden's positions on taxes and immigration, among other topics.

For instance, one of the group's ads shown to Facebook users in in Arizona has misleading claims that Biden “wants free health care and free tuition for illegal immigrants.”

The political action committee paid Facebook between $2,000 and $2,500 on that bit of propaganda, which generated between 200,000 and 250,000 impressions, according to Facebook's ad library.

Avaaz also reports that the Democratic political action committee Stop Republicans paid Facebook $45,000 to run at least 30 ads with misleading claims about the U.S. Postal Service. Those ads garnered around 1.3 million impressions, the advocacy group reports.

Some of the misleading ads have been taken down this week, but others are still available via Facebook's ad library.

2 comments about "Facebook Fails To Prevent PACs From Lying In Ads".
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  1. Joel Rubinson from Rubinson Partners, Inc., September 25, 2020 at 8:07 a.m.

     There is a fine line between fact-checking and censorship and I am in favor of facebook erring on the side of not becoming censors for political correctness.  In this particular case, the Washington Post agrees that Biden supports free healthcare for undocumented immigrants so fact-checking is certainly not an objective science.

  2. Tom Tyler from GCTVTexas, September 25, 2020 at 2:08 p.m.

    Lolol! What a laugh! Avaaz is a group of absolutely ~rabid~ Trump-hating "progressives". And it looks like they have quite literally lied about the fact that Biden supports free healthcare and free tutition for illegal aliens.  
    Once again, social media has absolutely ~no business~ censoring political expression, in fact section 230 can easily be legally interpreted to forbid such censorship via legislative intent.

    I think it's time to force First Amendment standards onto the social media oliogarchy. 

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