According a report in CNN Business this week, Facebook is considering a blanket ban on political ads in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election this fall. The move has apparently been under consideration since late last year, though it is just one of many options the social media giant is considering.
Facebook has weathered intense criticism for its policy of allowing political ads to run featuring false information. Mark Zuckerberg himself has been hesitant to endorse banning these ads in the past, saying it’s too difficult to delineate between what represents a political statement and what doesn’t.
“Even if we wanted to ban political ads, it’s not clear where we’d draw the line,” he said in a speech last October. “There are many more ads about issues than there are directly about elections. Would we ban all ads about healthcare or immigration or women’s empowerment? If we banned candidates’ ads but not these, would that really make sense to give everyone else a voice in political debates except the candidates themselves? There are issues any way you cut this.”
Though Facebook has hemmed and hawed about this decision, it’s notable that Twitter has already taken the step of banning them with minimal repercussions. Hopefully Facebook has learned its lesson and follows suit.
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