Facebook mulls changes to how it handles political ads

Facing increased scrutiny, Facebook is considering making some changes to how it handles political ads, a source told CNN Business.The company, howeve...

Posted: Nov 7, 2019 7:43 AM

Facing increased scrutiny, Facebook is considering making some changes to how it handles political ads, a source told CNN Business.

The company, however, appears committed to its most controversial policy in this area: allowing politicians to run false ads.

Facebook is considering changes to how political ads can be targeted, how ads are labeled, and providing more information about who is paying for an ad, the source told CNN Thursday.

While the policy changes may satisfy some of the company's critics, Facebook will likely face continued backlash for its fact-checking policy.

Google, which owns YouTube, is also considering changes to its policies, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. CNN Business has reached out to Google for comment.

Facebook allows advertisers to target small groups, including even specific groups of users, with ads. Some critics — including some Facebook employees — have raised concerns that such highly-targeted political ads could undermine political discourse by decreasing the chance that rival campaigns and the press can see the ads and provide transparency about and fact-checks and context for the messages.

President Trump's re-election campaign is the biggest political spender on Facebook and runs targeted ads every day. The campaign has spent more than $14 million on Facebook ads this year, according to Facebook. On the Democratic side the biggest spenders are Tom Steyer and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttgieg, whose campaigns have spent about $9 million and $5 million this year respectively.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, called on Facebook and Google to stop micro-targeting for political ads in an interview with CNN in August. Neither company had a specific response to Wyden when contacted by CNN at the time.

On Wednesday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said political ad targeting should be banned.

"I think that targeting, in that domain essentially, should not be allowed," Gates said at a conference held by the New York Times. "It's the targeting where you don't see the hate ad that just appeals to that one person. It's the targeting that's really screwed this thing up."

Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his company would stop accepting political ads entirely.

"A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money," Dorsey tweeted.

Facebook's executives have remained steadfast in their contention that politicians should be able to run ads on their platform and that it is not Facebook's place to decide whether an ad is true or false.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 195684

Reported Deaths: 2587
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38714593
Washington25787233
Marion22229308
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Lane13128149
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Gilliam631
Sherman581
Wheeler321
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3768805

Reported Deaths: 62690
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123741124115
Riverside2997934594
San Bernardino2971654724
San Diego2790983742
Orange2712515031
Santa Clara1190602096
Kern1092981376
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San Joaquin733101394
Contra Costa68976805
Stanislaus622491061
Tulare49830840
Monterey43662383
San Mateo42059570
San Francisco36795546
Santa Barbara34391459
Solano32974253
Merced31919461
Sonoma30067321
Imperial28504729
Kings23017246
Placer22688292
San Luis Obispo21308260
Madera16482242
Santa Cruz16264206
Marin14079227
Yolo13932211
Shasta12175226
Butte12095192
El Dorado10193113
Napa988782
Sutter9441113
Yuba628549
San Benito606863
Lassen570624
Tehama559063
Nevada475575
Tuolumne413967
Mendocino410849
Humboldt408042
Amador366647
Lake348543
Glenn240025
Siskiyou225525
Colusa223616
Calaveras213654
Inyo142838
Del Norte13988
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Modoc5014
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