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Facebook Quietly Changes Ad Rules, Allowing Politicians to Lie in Campaign Material

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Fact-checkers are now further constrained by Facebook’s policies in respect of political statements, as Facebook pages “with the primary purpose of expressing the opinion or agenda of a political figure” are now exempt from its misinformation regulations.

Without warning or fanfare, Facebook has amended its ban on false claims in advertising, creating a specific exemption for political adverts, in effect making it easier for politicians and political parties to lie in promotional material on the social network.

However, as reported by Popular Information 3rd October, last week Facebook’s policies in respect of ‘misinformation’ on its platform were quietly revised. Previously any and all “ads, landing pages, and business practices” were prohibited from sharing “deceptive, false, or misleading content” or making “deceptive claims, offers, or methods” - now, Facebook merely proscribes ads including “claims debunked by third-party fact checkers or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organizations with particular expertise”.

Under Facebook’s controversial third-party fact-checking programme, organisations such as Full Fact are invited to verify claims, and the veracity of content, posted to its platform. However, the initiatives have neither the time nor resources to vet every scrap of contested information posted on the social network, and the new rules prevent them from

​This was confirmed 24th September by Nick Clegg, former Liberal Democrat leader and Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs and Communications, in a speech at the Atlantic Festival discussing the company's efforts to battle interference and misinformation in advance of the November 2020 US presidential election. While stating Facebook has more stringent rules on advertising than it does for “ordinary speech and rhetoric”, he also noted the company doesn’t “submit speech by politicians” to fact-checkers, and “generally allow it on the platform even when it would otherwise breach our normal content rules”.

The revelation follows not long after the release of a leaked recording of Mark Zuckerberg privately saying to employees it would "suck" if Elizabeth Warren - a Democratic party presidential frontrunner “who thinks the right answer is to break up” major tech monopolies, according to the Facebook CEO - was elected. In the event she was, he promised to "go to the mat" and "fight" her.

“If she gets elected president, then I would bet we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government,” Zuckerberg said.

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