How much do you trust Facebook? If you said ‘a lot,’ you might want to rethink that response. Facebook has lost the trust of millions over the last few years, and judging by this latest bit of news, it should cement that you need to be very careful in using the social media giant’s website.
Left-leaning news site VICE News published the results of a “small test run” on Facebook to see how reputable their mandatory “Paid For” advertising campaign was when it came to political ads. VICE tried posting ads from across the political spectrum in order to determine which names and/or groups would be accepted by Facebook.
The results are both hilarious and a little troublesome.
According to VICE News:
But when VICE News placed ads on behalf of prominent political figures such as Vice President Mike Pence, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, Facebook quickly approved them. We also tried submitting an ad on behalf of “Islamic State,” which was also approved by Facebook. We were able to get Facebook’s approval for political ads that included these names within the Paid For disclosure.
Using “Hillary Clinton” in the Paid For disclosure was denied by Facebook, but that didn’t prevent us from continuing to place political ads under other false names and bogus PACs. Facebook didn’t explain to VICE News why Hillary Clinton was denied.
To be able to submit political ads on Facebook, we were required to submit a valid ID and proof of residence. That means Facebook knew who was behind the ads internally, but externally, Facebook users would see was completely made up Paid For information.
Wow! I guess it’s kinda funny that Facebook accepted ads “Paid For” by ISIS, but not failed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But, that should also prove worrisome as well.
Even though Facebook knew the ads were really “Paid For” by someone other than who was being presented as the purchaser of the ads, they went ahead approved the ads anyway.
VICE also spoke to Facebook’s Business Integrity product management team leader Rob Leathern about the phony ads.
“Inaccurate disclaimers have no place on Facebook and these ads are no longer running,” Leathern said. “Our goal is to increase transparency on Facebook and prevent foreign interference elections which is why we have implemented the authorization process and released the Ad Archive. Enforcement isn’t perfect - and we won't stop all people trying to game the system - but we have made it much harder and we will continue to improve.”
Gee thanks, Rob. Thanks for giving us the standard corporate answer that we saw all too often from the robotic CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony to Congress earlier this year. That was a shit show, and now it appears that Leathern’s answer follows that benign model of saying a lot without saying anything.
Folks, the internet is a great tool to bring you pretty much whatever information you might be looking for. But, the internet is also a place where you have to seriously vet said information, because it’s sometimes difficult to discern where it’s really coming from.
H/T: Daily Caller