Facebook Has ‘No Plans’ to Fact-Check Its Political Ads

“Once you say to somebody ‘Do you really want [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg or a Facebook executive to be the arbiter of political truth?’ The answer is typically no,” Facebook VP Carolyn Everson says

Don’t hold you breath waiting for Facebook to start fact-checking its political ads.

Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Solutions, said Monday the company has “no plans” to change its political ad policy, despite criticism from many pundits and 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren. Everson made the comment while speaking at the Code Media conference in Hollywood.

“Once you say to somebody ‘Do you really want [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg or a Facebook executive to be the arbiter of political truth?’ The answer is typically no,” Everson said.

Facebook’s critics have skewered the company in recent months for its decision to take a hands-off approach to its political ads. Warren has been perhaps the loudest detractor, saying Facebook should not run political ads with false claims. To reinforce her point, Warren intentionally lied in a Facebook ad in October. It was the latest run-in between Facebook and Warren, who has repeatedly called for the U.S. government to break up the company and other major tech firms.

Zuckerberg, meanwhile, has said multiple times he doesn’t believe it’s wise for Facebook to decide what is and isn’t true in political ads.

“I know many people disagree with us,” Zuckerberg said last month. “But in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.”

Everson echoed many of Zuckerberg’s recent comments during the opening minutes of her Code interview.

Twitter, meanwhile, went in the opposite direction — opting to halt most political ads starting this week. Political ads were a small revenue driver for Twitter, bringing in about $3 million during the 2018 election cycle, Twitter CFO Ned Segal shared in October.

Everson added that Facebook and Zuckerberg aren’t opposed to having more rules and regulations around political ads and consumer privacy — but they’d like to see it stem from the government.

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