Facebook has announced that it is not changing its stance on political advertising, saying it will not limit the targeting of the adverts it uploads to its platform. In a blog post Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management said that Facebook would however give users more granular control over the type and volume of advertising they will be served.
Google now limits the targeting of political ads while Twitter took the bold approach of banning them altogether. But Zuckerberg and Facebook have stood resolute, basically saying it isn’t their responsibility to vet potential misinformation in paid political advertising. This has been met with criticism that says the company refuses to acknowledge the almighty power it has over elections and the general spread of misinformation.
The blog post admits, “Ultimately, we don’t think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies, which is why we are arguing for regulation that would apply across the industry.”
This month Facebook will roll out a control that lets users select ‘Custom Audiences’ from a list to stop being targeted by certain advertisers, an extension of the existing settings in the site’s Ad Preferences panel.
Leathern also said “we plan to add a new control that will allow people to see fewer political and social issue ads on Facebook and Instagram.” This feature builds on other controls in Ad Preferences we’ve released in the past, like allowing people to see fewer ads about certain topics or remove interests.
The blog says Facebook will roll out the political ad controls in the US “early this summer”, with plans to expand to “more locations.” While vague and not promising for other regions, it does mean that people in the US will have control over political ads before the November 2020 Presidential election.
But unless the individual bothers with these settings – which will no doubt not be advertised much – then millions will still be targeted by political advertising that has not been vetted for accuracy.
Find out how to use the off-Facebook tool.