Washington, Oct 13 (IANS) In an apparent embarrassment for Facebook, Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has successfully run a fake ad on the social media platform that claimed “Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election”.
Unhappy over Facebook's earlier announcement that exempts politicians' posts from third-party fact-checking, the Massachusetts Senator intentionally made the ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook's ad platform to see if it'd be approved.
“It got approved quickly and the ad is now running on Facebook. It changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies a” explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine. This week, we decided to see just how far it goes,” Warren said in a series of tweets late Saturday.
The ad further read: “What Zuckerberg has done is given Trump free rein to lie on his platform and then pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters.”
“Facebook holds incredible power to affect elections and our national debate. Theya¿ve decided to let political figures lie to youa”even about Facebook itselfa”while their executives and their investors get even richer off the ads containing these lies,” Warren commented on Twitter.
Facebook last week refused to take down President Donald Trump's ad which accused Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of promising Ukraine money for firing a prosecutor investigating a firm with ties to the former Vice President's son, Hunter Biden.
The Biden camp also slammed Facebook, saying the claim in the ad “has been demonstrated to be completely false”.
Warren also criticized Facebook over its policies related to the veracity of claims made in political ads.
According to her, Facebook threw its hands up to battling misinformation in the political discourse, because when profit comes up against protecting democracy, Facebook chooses profit.
“The Trump campaign is currently spending $1 million a week on ads including ones containing known lies, ads that TV stations refuse to air because they're false. Facebook just takes the cash, no questions asked,” she further tweeted.
Warren has repeatedly called for the breakup of Facebook and other big tech companies.
“Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once through negligence. Now, they've changed their policy so they can profit from lies to the American people. It's time to hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable,” she said.
Neither Facebook nor the White House has responded to Warren.
Last month, Facebook announced to exempt politicians from its third-party fact-checking programme, saying its efforts to curb fake news and misinformation don't apply to politicians globally.
“From now on, we will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard,” said Nick Clegg, Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook.