Elizabeth Warren’s troll game is pretty strong. In an attempt to prove the pitfalls of Facebook’s policy exempting ads by politicians from third-party fact-checking, the Democratic senator and presidential candidate intentionally lied in a series of new Facebook ads just to see if the platform would approve them.
And it did. Warren’s ads specifically make false statements about Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
“Breaking news: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election,” one of the ads read, above a photo of a recent meeting between Zuckerberg and the president. “You’re probably shocked, and you might be thinking, ‘how could this possibly be true?’ Well, it’s not.”
Elizabeth Warren is now running FB ads with a false statement about Mark Zuckerberg and FB endorsing Trump for president, to draw attention to FB’s controversial policy allowing politicians to make false statements in ads. https://t.co/hulwrb3cc3 pic.twitter.com/6zsPwXESKR
— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) October 11, 2019
Warren has targeted Facebook in recent days, saying that a loophole in its policy permits President Trump’s campaign to run untruthful ads — including ones about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son — while Zuckerberg continues taking “gobs of money.”
In a series of tweets Saturday morning, Warren explained further that her ad was meant “to see just how far” Facebook’s policy goes. (The thread begins here.)
“Facebook changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies–explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine. This week, we decided to see just how far it goes…We intentionally made a Facebook ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook’s ad platform to see if it’d be approved. It got approved quickly.”
Warren goes on to say that Facebook holds “incredible power to affect elections and our national debate. They’ve decided to let political figures lie to you.”
“Once again, we’re seeing Facebook throw its hands up to battling misinformation in the political discourse, because when profit comes up against protecting democracy, Facebook chooses profit.”
The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Trump 2020 campaign spent $1.1 million on Facebook ads last week alone.
According to The Post’s source Bully Pulpit Interactive, roughly two-thirds of those adds were related to impeachment.
Facebook changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies–explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine. This week, we decided to see just how far it goes.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019
“If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech,” said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone, in a statement to CNN on the ads.