Every day, 1.5 million pairs of eyes are bombarded with advertisements crammed into any and every available space on the familiar social media website, Facebook.
Ranging from knockoff products to whatever eerily relates perfectly to a person’s most recent browsing history, these advertisement spaces are beginning to include increasing amounts of political ads.
If that’s not annoying enough while you’re trying to see what your aunt is mad about this time, the information in the ads could be entirely wrong — lying straight to your face.
“As a principle, in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies,” Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, said Oct. 17.
This is plain ridiculous. The argument that people should decide for themselves instead of the company is silly when considering the company doesn’t even have to make the decision itself; it can do a quick Google search to see if the information in the ads it’s profiting from is accurate and let the facts make the choice.
Unfortunately, that’s the problem. Facebook doesn’t care about whether or not the ads are conveying accurate information as long as it is getting a pretty penny off of them, and it is. According to Investopedia, Facebook made more than $40 billion off of ads in 2017. It would appear Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard before he took a class on ethics and morals.
Facebook released a slew of policy updates Oct. 21 in an attempt to address election lies. However, the new policies address everything except false ads, explained TechCrunch, a popular technology news site.
What a surprise: a company turning down ethics to keep a steady cash revenue.
Just the other week, Facebook demonstrated how far it is willing to go to ensure its shareholders are happy.
Elizabeth Warren tweeted Oct. 12 about a campaign advertisement she paid for on Facebook. The ad claimed Facebook supported President Donald Trump before clarifying it was intentionally lying.
Clearly unable to hear over the incoming money, Facebook didn’t make a comment on the ad or stop it from running. While this shows it’s willing to stand by its stance of letting people decide on the credibility of information themselves, it’s rather pathetic when a company can’t make a decision on if information about itself is accurate.
Even if Facebook is given the benefit of the doubt with being correct about its stance on having people filter information on their own, not everyone is capable of doing so. Afterall, Facebook only requires someone to be 13 years old to create an account.
Maybe it’s just me, but something feels off about trusting 13-year-olds to be able to make judgement calls on the accuracy of information when they still need to be reminded to do their homework.
It’s about time for Facebook to fix its advertisement system and look past the money. With the presidential race continuing to ramp up, Facebook should use its platform to ensure people are accurately informed about each candidate, or at least remove political ads as a whole if the social media giant doesn’t feel comfortable checking for accuracy.
Another social media platform, TikTok, decided not to run political ads on its platform, according to NBC. If the mess that is TikTok can make the right choice, Facebook should be able to too.