Defending Democracy

As the CEOs for Facebook, Twitter and Google appear before Congress, NC’s House Dems call for an end to false political ads

Representatives David Price (NC-04), G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and Alma Adams (NC-12) have sent a letter to Facebook pressing the social media giant to take immediate action against deceptive advertising in the final days of the election cycle.

Representatives David Price (NC-04), Alma Adams (NC-12) and G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)

The three worry that misleading content can cause confusion and undermine the fairness of the election process.

“With potentially millions of voters exposed to deceptive political advertising on its platform, Facebook has a duty to ensure it does not become a vector for disinformation. In the critical days leading up to the 2020 election, we’re asking Facebook to immediately confront these troubling reports and take action to protect the health of our democracy,” said Congressman Price.

The lawmakers point to more than a dozen ads from the Super PAC America First Action that were selectively edited to show Kamala Harris appear to be condoning violent riots. Another debunked ad was edited to leave the viewer with a false impression about Joe Biden’s stance on raising taxes.

And while the ads in question were misleading, they gathered an estimated 441,000 impressions in North Carolina.

Congresswoman Alma Adams likened the spread of false political ads to the coronavirus.

“Facebook has become a super spreader of misleading viral and paid content. Companies like Facebook are responsible for the content they lend a platform to, especially when that platform is paid for.”

The three North Carolina representatives are calling on Facebook to enforce their stated policy of prohibiting ads that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers.

They also want Facebook to commit to fact-checking every political ad before it goes live between now and the time the results of the election are confirmed.

The push for Facebook to clean-up its advertising comes as the CEOs for Facebook, Twitter, and Google will appear virtually before a Senate committee Wednesday to discuss Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Read the the full letter by Price, Adams and Butterfield here.

Click here to watch the Senate Committee hearing live streamed starting at 10:00am Wednesday.

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