We are all familiar with Mark Zuckerberg’s appearances in the senate after facebook’s involvement through political ads seemed to have had a sway in how the election turned out. Though it might have been a response to how the elections turned out, targeted marketing of a political nature, especially when the information being disseminated is falsified is a dangerous idea.
WIth the 2020 elections on the horizon and with Twitter banning political ads altogether from the platform, Mark Zuckerberg, in an article in USA Today, announced changes to Facebook and Instagram,
“For those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you — so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.”
Besides having the option to turn off and block ads that are “Paid for”, users will also have the option to report the ad in case they appear despite being turned off. It is not much of a change considering the pressure put on the company by the senate, by commentators and by political parties.
However, such a change does not seem to be coming anytime soon as Facebook Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications, Sir Nick Clegg made it clear on BBC radio that the company will not be taking steps to fact check political ads.
Zuckerberg instead focused more on voter turnout and providing information on the voting process by introducing a Voting Information Center on instagram and facebook which will take effect beginning in July. Redirecting the conversation to voter turnout, he wrote,
“Voting is voice. It’s the single most powerful expression of democracy, the best way to hold our leaders accountable, and how we address many of the issues our country is grappling with. I believe Facebook has a responsibility not just to prevent voter suppression — which disproportionately targets people of colour — but to actively support well-informed voter engagement, registration, and turnout.”