Democrats Pressure Google, Facebook to Change Ad Policy

November 8th, 2019 2:31 PM

The left has been pressuring Big Tech companies to change their ad policies in preparation for the 2020 election.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is considering following the footsteps of Twitter when it comes to changing its political ad policies. The company has been “holding internal meetings about changing its political ad policy. . . though it is unclear what the changes will be.” These changes would affect both Google and YouTube. Facebook is also considering making some alterations to its political ad policy, especially when it comes to banning “microtargeting.”

According to Dylan Byers at NBC, “Zuckerberg remains open to ideas about how to curb the spread of false ads, including limiting the ability of candidates to target narrow groups of users.” The company has been criticized by Democrats and other tech CEOs for its refusal to fact-check political ads. This was confirmed in a November 7 piece at Politico, where Facebook Policy Chief Nick Clegg said, “We’re working on a whole series of possible amendments and changes to our approach on political ads, so it’s not the end of the story."

After Democratic candidate former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign complained to Facebook and Google to take down an ad from the Trump campaign, Politico wrote, “a consensus is emerging in Democratic politics that these platforms are the greatest threat to the party’s eventual nominee.”

Microsoft founder and billionaire liberal Bill Gates stated at the DealBook conference that “targeting, in that domain essentially, should not be allowed. It’s the targeting where you don’t see the hate ad that just appeals to that one person. It’s the targeting that’s really screwed this thing up.” Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton agreed, saying, “Twitter made the right decision to say, ‘Look, we don’t want to get into the judging game.’ I think that should be the decision that Facebook makes as well.”

FCC chairwoman, appointed by Bush, Ellen Weintraub called for micro-targeting to end in an op-ed for the Washington Post. These kinds of ads make it “easy to single out susceptible groups and direct political misinformation to them with little accountability,” she wrote.

Twitter banned political ads on its platform on Nov. 1, but won’t release the details of the new policy until Nov. 15. While Democrats applauded the move at first, according to Vox, “some political strategists have warned that the move might favor incumbents and well-known political candidates over challengers and upstart campaigns.”

Democratic candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, complaining that the platform “won’t allow organizations fighting the climate crisis to buy ads.”