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Facebook Fails At Curbing False Political Ads Ahead Of US Election: WSJ

Facebook Fails At Curbing False Political Ads Ahead Of US Election: WSJ

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) has failed to contain misinformation in political advertising as campaigns exploit a loophole in the company's system, reports the Wall Street Journal.

What Happened: Three political groups backing President Donald Trump's re-election have found a way to repost an advertisement pulled down by the social media giant for being inaccurate by making little or no alterations to the ads.

These ads have been seen millions of times in swing states in the final days of the U.S. presidential campaign, a period when Facebook said it was extra cautious on misleading political content.

The conservative group, American Principles Project, had run ads on Facebook in October, claiming former Vice President Joe Biden supports the Antifa, backs sex-change operations for children, and supports legislation that would destroy girls' sports by allowing transgender athletes to compete with them.

Facebook had removed the ad after fact-checkers, including PolitiFact, had labeled it false or missing context. 

According to WSJ, American Principles Project reposted the ads with a slight change in wording ± targeting swing states, including Wisconsin and Michigan, shown to Facebook users more than three million times.

American Principles Project Executive Director Terry Schilling, in an email to WSJ, wrote that fact-check organizations like PolitiFact are unhelpful in offering guidance on improving the ad's accuracy.

In many cases, they made the best guess to alter the ads by removing references to state-specific public policy issues.

Why It Matters: Facebook has drawn sharp criticism for handling misinformation, free speech, and censorship. The social-media giant testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on Oct. 28.

Facebook has updated its policies around political ads frequently, which has caused glitches in its system, leading to a pull-down of genuine ads.

Democrats say that Facebook's political ad policies have failed to contain misinformation campaigns, while the Republicans have accused the company of targeting conservative views.

Price Action: Facebook shares shed 6.3% on Friday to close at $263.11.

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia


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