With the 2020 U.S. presidential election looming, Facebook has once again found itself under the microscope for its handling of fake news. And the results of this scrutiny haven’t been great for the social media giant. While other tech platforms like Twitter have banned political advertising altogether, Facebook has doubled down by allowing politicians to post basically anything — even outright lies. And earlier this week, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stepped up to defend the controversial policy.
In an interview with CBS News, Zuckerberg was pushed to explain the unpopular rule that, in the words of Axios, gives politicians a “free pass” to lie. In response, Zuckerberg said that people must judge politicians for themselves, and that it isn’t his company’s job to separate fact from fiction.
“What I believe is that in a democracy, it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments,” Zuckerberg said. “And, you know, I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.”
While his points are true in a broad sense, Zuckerberg is also being willfully naïve if he thinks Facebook couldn’t do more to stop the spread of spammy fake news on its platform. Even if it comes from politicians, Facebook has an obligation to combat this kind of content.
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