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Facebook refuses to change policy on untruthful political adverts

Facebook refuses to change policy on untruthful political adverts
Copyright AP Photo/Ben Margot, FileBen Margot
Copyright AP Photo/Ben Margot, File
By Euronews
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Good news for spin doctors?


Facebook has refused to change its policy on political advertising, and will not limit how ads can be targeted at specific groups of people.

In a blog post, Facebook also confirmed that they would not fact check political adverts on their platform.

Instead, the social media giant said it would "increase the level of transparency" in their Ad Library to allow users more control over the adverts in their newsfeeds.

Rob Leathern, the company's Director of Product Management, says this is an "important step in making political ads more transparent and advertisers more accountable".

Facebook has previously faced criticism from commentators and former employees, who say the company has too much power when it comes to elections and democracy.

Digital-ad rival Google decided to limit the reach of political adverts on the search engine in November.

Meanwhile, Twitter announced in October that they would be banning all political advertising on their platform, stating their belief that "political message reach should be earned, not bought".

But Facebook reaffirmed their policy, stating that they "don’t think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies".

"We will continue to work with regulators and policymakers in our ongoing efforts to help protect elections".

Facebook's VP of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, has previously stated that it was not their "role to intervene when politicians speak".

But the company has called for industry-wide regulation and said they were engaging with European Union policymakers.

"We believe the sooner Facebook and other companies are subject to democratically accountable rules on this the better."

The decision not to fact check ads has received a mixed reception, as pressure on social media companies increases ahead of the US presidential election in November.

US Senator and Democrat candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted that the move by Facebook was "not surprising" and called for "real competition and accountability".

The changes related to ad disclosures will come into effect over the next three months in the U.S. and other countries where Facebook puts the"paid for by" disclaimers on political ads.

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