Sen Elizabeth Warren escalates Facebook ad feud

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A days-long feud between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Facebook intensified over the weekend as she openly accused the company of "taking money to promote lies." Facebook fired back via another social media platform, Twitter, where the company compared itself to broadcast television stations that ran a Trump ad and are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. The "FCC doesn't want broadcast companies censoring candidates' speech," Facebook said. "We agree it's better to let voters -- not companies -- decide." In response, Sen Warren said the company's decision to compare itself to heavily regulated broadcasters raised even more questions about how it should be managed. "You're making my point here. It's up to you whether you take money to promote lies." Warren's campaign also ran an ad on Facebook that contained a deliberate lie to draw further attention to the issue.

For a platform that targets content to users based on their interests and according to detailed data, reworking rules for Facebook could be immensely complex and perhaps inadvisable, said Andrew Schwartzman, senior counselor to the Benton Foundation Institute for Broadband & Society. "You can't apply that effectively, probably, to cable -- but certainly not to internet platforms," he said. "It's just impossible." Facebook's reference to broadcasters also highlights a double standard. Schwartzman added that Facebook wants the benefit of the doubt afforded to regulated broadcasters, but "without the responsibility of being a regulated broadcaster."

 


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