Facebook promised its billions of users that it would be better when it comes to fake news. One year later, Facebook seems to be turning against that promise.
Last week, President Donald Trump and his allies posted doctored videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), which falls under Facebook’s category of “false or misleading news.” Facebook, however, said that it wouldn’t remove the video because so many people had posted it.
The Verge interviewed journalists Facebook hired to research and flatten “fake news” on their platforms. Sometimes it takes up to a few days to remove the “fake news.” As the adage goes: “A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Such is the case with Facebook’s fake news problem.
In a Popular Information interview, Facebook admitted that although it hired 15,000 people around the world to stop the proliferation of false information on their platform, it is relying primarily on “automated tools” to pass political ads.
That is how Trump’s 2020 campaign manages to promote false or misleading information to their own campaign supporters. Tuesday, March 28, the Trump campaign began running dozens of ads promoting a contest for supporters where they can enter to win a free “Make America Great Again” hat that is signed by the president. The deadline was at midnight tonight.
But they ran the same ad on Memorial Day saying that the deadline to enter the contest was midnight May 27.
It’s a clear violation of Facebook’s rules prohibiting “misleading or false content.” Facebook is likely making a lot of money off of the campaign from the Trump campaign, but it’s unknown if that is the motivation for refusing to enforce the rules others are forced to follow.
“Most of the time, coverage of Trump’s tactics on Facebook involves misleading the public about an important political issue,” Popular Information reported. “But this is a standard grift that seeks to manipulate people to extract email addresses and, ultimately, money.
The MAGA hat contest isn’t the only problem, however. Trump is also running ads saying Democrats want to repeal the Second Amendment, despite no Democrats suggesting a law to do so.
Interestingly, Trump and other conservatives have spent a lot of time playing the victim and saying that they are mistreated or censored by social media sites, including Facebook. This was one of the ways Russia was able to push so much false information on the platform in 2016. The company was fearful Republicans would complain if they censored the false information and the Russian ads promoting Trump, Mashable reported last year.
“This is why Trump spends a lot of time claiming that Facebook is biased against conservatives,” Popular Info stated. “Trump’s campaign can then violate the rules and, whatever happens, it helps him. If Facebook does nothing, the campaign gets to continue to run false ads. If Facebook acts, Trump claims that it is proof of bias, an issue that fires up his core supporters.”
It’s unclear if Facebook intends to enforce their rules on Republicans for the 2020 election or only suppress progressive content.