False political advertising: the parade of Google and Facebook


a month of controversy

   , misleading political ads have become more than a thorn in the foot of Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Google. No question for the moment
get in the way of Twitter

   , who announced a few days ago ban this type of content from November 22. But the pressure of politics is rising, and to change nothing is delicate. The two digital giants are looking for how to cut the pear in half.

According to several Anglo-Saxon media, they plan to limit or even block the use of their targeting tools by political advertisers. Neither group officially confirms. But internal meetings have been held at Google on the subject, according to
e Wall Street Journal,

   and the Mountain View group should make a communication to its employees this week.

The police leaflets

The maneuver would have the advantage of not turning off the tap of political advertising. And not to force companies to evaluate the content of ads. Facebook's management in particular has no desire to police political leaflets on its platform, arbitrating the truth from the fake.

Mark Zuckerberg in person puts forward philosophical reasons for this, and stands as a defender of freedom of expression. If a politician carries a false speech, explains the boss of Facebook, the solution is not to censure him but, on the contrary, to let him express himself and that an opponent can point out his inaccuracies in the context of the contradictory debate . It is in the name of this principle that the social network has allowed to spread
a Donald Trump campaign clip

    carrying false accusations of corruption against his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

"It's no longer democracy"

Several personalities denounce a hypocritical policy of Facebook, masking a low commercial interest, and inoperative principles. On major technology platforms, content is pushed to users based on their profile. A misleading political advertisement can therefore target people who will never be exposed to any counter-speech by the recommendation algorithms.

" If only in your news thread, between you and Facebook, and their microciblage of who you are, it is no longer democracy "Thursday, the European Commissioner
Margrethe Vestager at the Lisbon Web Summit

   , calling the social network to align his words and deeds.

Moratorium and regulation

Block advertising targeting is possible. The measure exists for real estate or credit announcements for example, to avoid discriminatory practices. Should it be applied to political ads? The idea is gaining ground in the public debate.

Bill Gates defended her during an interview on Wednesday. " In this area, targeting should not be allowed The Microsoft founder said, while protesting against the idea of ​​fact-checking political ads. " No private company can or should take these decisions (…) It's the targeting, when you do not see the hateful advertisement that only attracts that other person, who has broken everything, in my opinion ".

The measure could also be a first step. This is the opinion of a committee of international parliamentarians (from the United States, Australia, Great Britain, Finland, Estonia, Georgia and Singapore) set up to investigate misinformation, which met in Dublin on Thursday. The group called for a moratorium on the targeting of political ads, pending a regulation of the sector.


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