A political activist is taking on Facebook’s policy regarding political advertisements, and he’s even taking things a step further, announcing a run for California governor to make his point made.
The political action committee, “The Really Online Lefty League”— which Adriel Hampton is the treasurer of— tested Facebook’s policy in fact-checking political ads. Facebook has decided that they wouldn’t fact-check politicians’ ads, including 2020 presidential candidates.
As IJR previously reported, the left-leaning group ran an advertisement that suggested Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) endorsed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) Green New Deal. Facebook confirmed on Saturday that the advertisement was taken down.
On Monday, Hampton took things a step further against Facebook, as he decided to run for governor in California’s 2022 gubernatorial election to continue to challenge the platform.
A spokesperson for Facebook said in response to Hampton, “This person has made clear he registered as a candidate to get around our policies, so his content, including ads, will continue to be eligible for third-party fact-checking.”
Appearing on CNN on Tuesday, Hampton was asked if he’s “contributing to this age of misinformation on Facebook,” in which he responded, “No.”
“I’m here on CNN talking about how we need to stop misinformation on Facebook,” Hampton said, adding, “I also challenge the premise that I’m not running to win.”
Hampton also expressed concern with the Trump 2020 campaign, as he claimed that the president’s campaign manager “can use this exemption to manipulate the election very easily.”
See his comments below:
On Facebook’s website, they write that politicians’ advertisements and posts are “generally not subjected to fact-checking.” Politicians, however, cannot run content that was “previously debunked on Facebook.”
In backing up why politicians aren’t affected, Facebook writes:
“Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, especially in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is the most scrutinized speech there is. Just as critically, by limiting political speech we would leave people less informed about what their elected officials are saying and leave politicians less accountable for their words.”
Facebook is even facing criticism from their own over the issue, as some of their employees wrote to the platform to reverse the fact-checking policy for politicians because “free speech and paid speech are not the same thing,” as The Wall Street Journal reported.