Facebook launches political ad tool but still allows some controversial content
In this Aug. 21, 2018, file photo a Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, June 10, 2019 6:51AM EDT
OTTAWA -- Anyone who wants to buy political ads on Facebook in the lead-up to the federal election will have to be approved by the company, but non-advertising that simply blurs lines --like a recent doctored video of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- may still be permitted on the social-media site.
Facebook is launching its "authorization" process for political advertising today, including a number of steps to confirm that an entity or group buying an ad is real and is based in Canada.
Starting June 30, political ads that appear on Facebook will show who paid for them and give options for users to view a range of information about each ad's reach.
Facebook Canada's head of public policy Kevin Chan says the company is trying to go beyond the standards set in the Liberal government's new election advertising laws, which came into effect last December.
But when it comes to content like the Pelosi video, which was slowed down to make her seem intoxicated or addled, Chan says Facebook does not want to be the adjudicator of free speech.
The video has since been removed, although not by Facebook -- and Chan says the company will remove content that violates its rules, but also wants to protect freedom of expression over censorship.