Warren slams Facebook, says platform is banning political ads to ‘avoid blame’

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Former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., slammed Facebook as “performative” on Tuesday after the social media company announced it will temporarily stop running political ads in the U.S. in the immediate aftermath of Election Day.

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“Facebook is again making performative changes to try to avoid blame for misinformation on its platform,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “The problem isn’t the ads themselves. The problem is Facebook’s refusal to regulate its ads, change its broken algorithm, or take responsibility for the power it’s amassed.”

Facebook has faced criticism from the left for being less quick than its competitor Twitter to censor content from President Trump. However, both companies flagged Trump’s recent post comparing the flu and COVID-19.

“[W]e plan to temporarily stop running all social issue, electoral or political ads in the US after the polls close on November 3, to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse,” Facebook executive Guy Rosen wrote in a company blog post on Wednesday. “We will notify advertisers when this policy is lifted.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Facebook's impact on the financial services and housing sectors. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Facebook’s impact on the financial services and housing sectors. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Facebook has announced a flurry of new policies in the weeks leading up to the election, including a crackdown on posts related to the QAnon conspiracy theory. The company has removed more than 120,000 pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram (which it owns) for violating its voter interference policies, Rosen wrote.

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Facebook has repeatedly said it’s preparing for a drawn-out election process.

“So we’re preparing a range of policies and products to keep people informed and prevent the spread of misinformation,” Rosen wrote on Wednesday. “For example, when polls close, we will run a notification at the top of Facebook and Instagram and apply labels to candidates’ posts directing people to the Voting Information Center for more information about the vote-counting process.”

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Warren, a longtime critic of Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has called big tech companies “monopolies” and proposed breaking them up. Zuckerberg apparently dreaded the possibility of a Warren presidency and said in 2019 the company would “go to the mat and … fight” if she tried to break up Facebook.



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