Facebook to still allow misinformation in ads under new rules

Facebook on Thursday said that it does not plan to make any sweeping changes to its controversial political advertising policy ahead of the 2020 elections, maintaining that it will continue to allow misinformation in political ads and allow campaigns to microtarget those ads to small segments of the population.

The social media giant instead opted to make smaller tweaks to its political ads policy following months of scrutiny and pressure from Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups who have criticized Facebook for allowing politicians to make false statements in advertisements.

Facebook has spent months defending its current policy as an effort to promote free speech on its enormous platform, which is seen as the go-to destination for political campaigns trying to get through to key voters. But critics have responded that Facebook is setting up a dangerous precedent as politicians target potentially false information at small, specific populations using the company’s sophisticated targeting tools.

Facebook now says it will soon unveil a feature that allows users to see fewer political ads, and it will offer users more details about the political advertisements they see.

Rob Leathern, the company’s director of product management, wrote that Facebook is not “deaf” to the “criticism of Facebook’s position.” He said that Facebook will “continue to work with regulators and policy makers in our ongoing efforts to help protect elections.”

The announcement puts the embattled social media company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, at odds with rivals Google and Twitter.