Sheryl Sandberg says Facebook not able to fact-checking political ads

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg claims the platform ‘isn’t capable’ of fact-checking political ads

  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said it’s not able to fact-checking political ads 
  • Sandberg’s comments mark a shift in narrative from previous statements 
  • Facebook has claimed that fact-checking political ads violates free speech  

Facebook has provided another reason for its decision not to fact-check political ads that appear on its platform.

In an interview with NBC News’ Byers’ Market podcast, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg claims that the platform simply isn’t capable of fact-checking the ads even if they wanted to.

‘If you look at political ads and fact-checking political ads,’ she said during the interview. 

‘That’s really not something anyone is capable of doing. And we don’t think we can make ourselves the arbiter of the truth.’ 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (pictured) said in an interview with NBC Byers’ Market that the company can’t fact-check political ads

The claim marks a shift in the narrative from Facebook which previously took a stance against fact-checking political ads by citing ideals about censorship.

In September the platform gave false claims that appear in paid political ads an exemption from its misinformation policies saying that ‘newsworthiness’ took precedent.

Zuckerberg has also defended the company’s policy both in a speech at Georgetown University and again in congressional hearings last year. 

‘We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.’

‘Our policy is we do not fact check politicians’ speech, and the reason for that is that we believe that in a democracy it is important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying,’ Zuckerberg said in the hearings.

Facebook has said it will refrain from removing claims in political ads, even those that are found to be false, if they ‘believe the public interest in seeing it outweighs the risk of harm.’

Facebook has com under scrutiny from employees and regulators for its role in fact-checking ads over the past year (stock)

Concurrently, the decision not to fact-check political ads has also riled its own employees at times. 

In a letter written and signed by hundreds of workers at the company, employees criticized Facebook and Zuckerberg for the company’s refusal to correct misleading information that appears in paid political advertisements.

‘Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact-checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for,’ wrote the employees.

The platform is also engaged in a holsitic effort to combat other misinformation on its platform using a mix of human moderators and artificial intelligence designed to identify and flag propaganda before it spreads. 

Facebook has gone to great lengths to assure law makers, regulators, and its own users that these methods will help to prevent campaigns documented before and during the 2016 presidential election. 

As documented by the US Intelligence community, Russian operatives were allowed to spread content meant to undermine the campaign of then Democratic nominee, Hilary Clinton and support now president Donald Trump. 

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