Facebook is extending its controversial anything-goes-on-political-ads policies to the UK, CNN reported on Friday.
The firm, which was criticised for allowing political ads to deceive users was criticised on both sides of the pond for this policy. As the UK’s 2019 General Elections approach, the firm will find itself under renewed scrutiny by Parliament who have previously deemed it as a firm of digital gangsters.
CNN quotes conservative MP Damian Collins and as saying: “People shouldn’t be able to spread disinformation during election campaigns just because they are paying Facebook to do so.”
“Would it be acceptable to society at large to have a private company in effect become a self-appointed referee for everything that politicians say? I don’t believe it would be,” Former UK Deputy Prime Minister and current Facebook exec Clegg said. “In open democracies, voters rightly believe that, as a general rule, they should be able to judge what politicians say themselves.”
Facebook’s laissez-faire approach is not something that’s universal in the Industry. Microsoft has long since decided that it would not be getting involved, and Twitter hopped in on the action this week. The latter decided that it would disallow any and all political ads. The firm cited its commitment to combating misinformation being undone if it allowed itself to take money to spread what both parties knew were lies.
Despite taking criticism on all sides, Mark Zuckerberg has shown no signs of backing down.
“You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours,” the CEO posted on his Facebook page this week, quoting a political movie in an effort to throw some shade at his critics.