Facebook has strict transparency rules when it comes to who it allows to purchase and run ads on its platform. However, the company doesn’t always play by its own rules. According to a blockbuster ruling against the social media giant in the state of Washington, Facebook has “repeatedly and intentionally” violated the state’s campaign finance laws. That’s why the state has levied a $25 million fine against Facebook — the largest campaign finance penalty in U.S. history.
According to the state, Facebook has repeatedly objected to a Washington law that requires all ad sellers to make public the names and addresses of individuals who buy political ads, how the ads were paid for, and who they are targeting. According to the company, this law “ unduly burdens political speech.” However, Washington officials weren’t buying that line of logic, and now the company is facing a tremendous punishment for seemingly going against its own stated objectives.
“I have one word for Facebook’s conduct in this case — arrogance,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “It intentionally disregarded Washington’s election transparency laws. But that wasn’t enough. Facebook argued in court that those laws should be declared unconstitutional. That’s breathtaking. Where’s the corporate responsibility?”
It’s not shocking that Facebook would try to skirt advertising laws like this. However, it’s pretty rich that by doing so the company is essentially throwing out its own privacy and transparency mission.
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