Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently lashed out at Facebook for permitting President Donald Trump to run campaign commercials, and ran a text ad belittling the social media giant for giving the president an opportunity to offer his opinion.
Warren’s deceptive ad began accusing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of giving Trump “free rein to lie on his platform” in exchange for “gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters.”
The false advertisement reportedly links to a sign-up page of Warren’s campaign website, and it is speculated that it is collecting email addresses of anti-Trump voters, according to BizPacReview.
Facebook’s communications department addressed Warren’s accusations in writing, citing a core value of America—free speech.
The “FCC doesn’t want broadcast companies censoring candidates’ speech. We agree it’s better to let voters—not companies—decide,” Facebook’s communications department wrote. “[L]ooks like broadcast stations across the country have aired this ad nearly 1,000 times, as required by law.”
“You’re making my point here,” Warren argued in a reply. “It’s up to you whether you take money to promote lies. You can be in the disinformation-for-profit business, or you can hold yourself to some standards. In fact, those standards were in your policy. Why the change?”
Harold Feld, senior vice president at the technology think tank Public Knowledge, has said that broadcasters are free to choose whether to air political ads, though it is rare in today’s media environment and that laws still mandate them to carry ads by federal candidates, according to CNN.
“We face the same choices that we had when radio and television were the big gatekeepers,” Feld said. “How much discretion do you want to give to these powerful shapers of public opinion while still being faithful to the principles of the First Amendment and letting the public decide?”
BizPacReview contributor Vivek Saxena sees Warren’s condemnation of Facebook as hypocritical and her ads of Trump as a “glaring lie.”
“The idea that Facebook ‘helped elect’ the president is a conspiracy theory rooted in the decidedly fascist belief that allowing conservatives the opportunity to voice their concerns and perspectives on issues of the day is wrong and must be stopped.”
“It’s an especially galling conspiracy theory given all the evidence showing that social media companies and tech giants like Facebook, among many others, boast a bias against conservatives.”
Warren “remains obsessively fixated on the free speech rights of not only the president but those openly conservative news outlets and blogs that support his administration,” Saxena wrote.
“Her ostensible concern is that the president has been spreading lies. But none of his alleged ‘lies’ appear to be actual lies,’” Saxena wrote, pointing out that “allegations are allegations, not lies” in an example where Warren complained about an ad by Trump that laid out credible allegations of corruption regarding former Vice President Joe Biden.