19:42 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves a meeting with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in his office on Capitol Hill on September 19, 2019 in Washington, DC.

    Zuckerberg Defends Facebook Political Ads Policy after Twitter Ban

    © AFP 2019 / Samuel Corum
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    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday defended Facebook's controversial political advertising policy an hour after Twitter took a shot at its rival while announcing it will ban all political ads from its platform.

    Zuckerberg told investors on a quarterly earnings call that despite criticism and mulling whether or not carry on with political adverts in the past, Facebook would continue running the ads.

    "Ads can be an important part of voice — especially for candidates and advocacy groups the media might not otherwise cover so they can get their message into debates," he added.

    Zuckerberg and Facebook have been hit with a firestorm of criticism this month over accusations of allowing and profiting off political misinformation.

    Zuckerberg over the month of October has offered interviews on Fox News and NBC, gave a public speech at Georgetown University and testified before Congress about his view that Facebook should build policies to promote "free expression."

    “Would we really block ads for important political issues like climate change or women's empowerment?” Facebook CEO asked. “Instead, I believe the better approach is to work to increase transparency. Ads on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else.”

    Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, on the contrary, said his company would announce officially in mid-November that it would ban all political ads on the platform, arguing that “This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach.”

    Facebook is currently a dominant player in digital advertising while Twitter has a much smaller role in the market, yet for both companies, political advertising is only a small percentage of total revenue.

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