Facebook Employees Call for Change to Controversial Political Ad Rules

The staff wrote an internal letter requesting several changes to the platform's current policies on political ads.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Facebook employees have signed a petition pushing CEO Mark Zuckerberg to change the firm's rules on political advertising.

They feel the current rules allow politicians to live with impunity.


An internal letter

The New York Times (NYT) reported the story on Monday, revealing that 250 employees signed the internal letter, which was published on Facebook's internal forum Workplace"Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing," the letter reads, according to a copy acquired by the NYT.

"Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact-checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn't protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."

Exempted from the rules

Last October, Facebook revealed it would exempt political ads from its rules that ban falsehoods, a move that has proved highly controversial. Zuckerberg, however, stood by the decision on free speech grounds.

Now, his employees are calling attention to his contentious move. "Our goal is to bring awareness to our leadership that a large part of the employee body does not agree with this policy. We want to work with our leadership to develop better solutions that both protect our business and the people who use our products," reads the letter.

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All in all, the employees are asking for six key changes: they want Facebook to ban false political ads, they want political ads to be clearly distinguishable from non-political content, they want a restriction on targeting tools for political ads, they want "election silent periods," they want spending caps on the number of political ads that can be run, and they want clear policies on political ads.

Time will tell how Facebook will react, but it is good to know that some people are seeking to ensure a fair election process.

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