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Facebook again declines to limit political ad targeting

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Facebook again declines to limit political ad targeting
Facebook again declines to limit political ad targeting

Facebook has decided not to limit how political ads are targeted to specific groups of people, as Google has done

Facebook has too much power and not enough limits when it comes to its effects on elections and democracy itself.

Since last fall, Facebook has insisted that it won't fact-check political ads, a move that critics say gives politicians license to lie in ads that can't be easily monitored by outsiders. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly argued that “political speech is important” and that Facebook doesn't want to interfere with it.

Google, the digital ads leader, is limiting political-ad targeting to broad categories such as sex, age and postal code.

Facebook said in a blog post Thursday that it considered limiting the targeting of political ads. But the social network said it learned about their importance for “reaching key audiences” after conducting outreach with political campaigns from both U.S. parties, political groups and nonprofits.

The company said it was guided by the principle that “people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”

Facebook does plan to let users choose to see “fewer” political and social-issue ads, although it won't let people exclude them entirely. It will also let people search the ad library for exact phrases and to limit their search results using filters such as ad-audience size, dates and regions reached.

The transparency changes will go into effect over the next three months in the U.S. and other countries where Facebook puts “paid for by” disclaimers on political ads. The political-ad controls won't roll out in the U.S. until early summer; the company will “eventually” expand them to other regions.

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09 January 2020, 15:30