back to article FYI, we're now in the timeline where Facebook decides who is and isn't a politician on its 2bn-plus-person network

Facebook’s controversial policy to exempt political ads from factual review has taken another dive after the social media giant appeared to state it gets to decide which politicians the policy applies to. One California marketer is so incensed at the antisocial network's politicians-can-lie-with-impunity policy that he started …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Whoever gets into Mark’s ear and persuades him of the “right” approach gets to set company policy, no matter how obviously flawed that may be."

    So what you're saying is if we spraypaint the lad orange and gaffer tape a weasel to his bonce and he's got an outstanding chance of running for president next year.

    1. stiine Silver badge
      Megaphone

      That would be Priscilla Chan.

      Maybe she should stop using one of these ----->

  2. EveryTime

    I love the subtitle

    That pretty captures the whole situation.

    It's not a policy if you make it on the fly.

  3. Ian 55

    Well now we know

    The answer to the question "just how crap do you have to be to have Twitter look good in comparison?"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Well now we know

      Presumably Twitter must also have an algorithm to decide what is a political ad in order to ban it?

      1. Imhotep

        Re: Well now we know

        The best algorithm would ban them all. Easy to code and effective. Then they can address the tweets - a three character limit would be optimal.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: three character limit

          WTF

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: three character limit

            lol

            1. J. Cook Silver badge

              Re: three character limit

              OMG

              1. J. Cook Silver badge

                Re: three character limit

                BBQ

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    more a loosely woven throw

    one with many, many loopholes to be sure. I would even go as far as calling it cheese cloth.

    1. Forum McForumface

      Re: more a loosely woven throw

      I might go for lacework: bigger holes, superficially pleasing to the eye, and achieving scale through exploitation of the poor.

  5. Blackjack

    Is almost 2020, why are you still using Facebook?

    I really want to know, if you want to share pictures or chat there are better options.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Is almost 2020, why are you still using Facebook?

      Unfortunately farcebook has replaced many of the old internet forums. It costs money and expertise to set up and run your own forum. Now anyone with no technical knowledge or money can set up such groups on facebook. So if you participate in a particular hobby, sport or special interest the only place left to share information and chat with like minded people is on Zucks site. Personally that's the only thing I use the site for, certainly not for sharing any personal info - my profile is mostly blank or fake.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Is almost 2020, why are you still using Facebook?

        "So if you participate in a particular hobby, sport or special interest the only place left to share information and chat with like minded people is on Zucks site."

        It may depend on what your particular special interests are, but I have absolutely not found this to be true for mine.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Is almost 2020, why are you still using Facebook?

      I'm not -- I ditched Facebook years ago. I suffered no real problems when I did so, because of exctly what you said: Facebook does nothing that can't be done in other ways.

      1. Imhotep

        Re: Is almost 2020, why are you still using Facebook?

        Same here. I'm pretty sure I'm not missing anything and my time is better utilized. This is pretty much the closest I come to social media.

    3. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Is almost 2020, why are you still using Facebook?

      I use it mostly for music pages and a few friends I only really correspond with on FB.

      Even the music pages isn't as good now you can't play you tube videos inline anymore.

  6. NonyaDB

    The only people whining about this are folks who think Zuckbook elects politicians and hate Donald Trump.

    No one else really gives a damn.

    Unlike the rest of the planet, we have this thing called a "Constitution" that guarantees non-governmental interference when it comes to speech so there's not much that anyone can do about whatever the hell Zuckbook wants to do with itself.

    I haven't used Zuckbook since it was in beta many, many years ago, and it's never had my real identity tied to it.

    It's mere existence has no impact on my life - or the way I vote - at all.

    I check the candidates' stances on policy issues versus their own public statements, comments, and actions and decide from there.

    1. SMITCH79

      "I check the candidates' stances on policy issues versus their own public statements, comments, and actions and decide from there."

      Good. Unfortunately a lot of people tend to believe everything they see on facebook and are not into thoroughly researching as your good self (or me).

      Politicians want to get the wavering voters and facebook provides the tools to do this in an underhanded, flagrant lying manner by their own admission.

      Its not about the democratic process, its about money and money wins, always.

      To quote Trump, "sad, very sad"

    2. veti Silver badge

      Au contraire, there's a lot you can do within the constitution. Anti-trust law is one thing. Laws that regulate the behaviour of publishers (which is all Facebook is) are another.

      In the last 30 or so years, the USA has completely dropped the ball on anti-trust. Compared with Europe, US citizens are paying more, for less choice and poorer services in, say, broadband and mobile services, because it's allowed local monopolies to develop. And the same thing has happened online: Facebook and Google have conned politicians into seeing them as like national flagbearers or champions against supposed European or Asian competition, which means they get supported rather than slapped down.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "In the last 30 or so years, the USA has completely dropped the ball on anti-trust."

        Yep, and not coincidentally, I think that was around the time that the feds changed the threshold for when antitrust action would be required to "does it cause consumer harm". Because apparently the only thing we care about anymore is money.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Because apparently the only thing we care about anymore is money.

          FTFY.

  7. Rombizio
    Big Brother

    Par for the course...

    ....with the Leftist agenda. Here in Canada the government passed into law that Trudeau can decide who is journalist and who is not. Because they know better apparently.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Par for the course...

      Downvote for lazy assumptions - this isn't a left/right issue, but more authoritarian/liberal.

  8. ma1010 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Employees are complaining

    “Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for."

    I think the employees misunderstand what is going on here. What FB actually stands for is "More money, more money, more money for Zuck." Anything else is pretty much irrelevant, despite Zuck's fake apologies and other lies about wanting to be a good "corporate citizen."

    The real issue is this: can you imagine how much it would cost to fact-check everything said by and about politicians and ban any lies? Not only would the expense be horrendous, but 99.99% of all political ads would be forbidden by such a policy, which makes it a twice-losing proposition for Zuck. No way is he going to do that.

    Paris because they're obviously confused.

  9. Irongut

    > stop all political advertising on Twitter globally

    I'll believe @jack when he bans Trump and every other politician or political candidate from Twitter. Every tweet is an advert.

    1. veti Silver badge

      "Advertising" is pretty clear, it's the bits that someone pays to have displayed to your users when they're following #something. That's different from the tweets themselves, nobody is naive enough to imagine you could ban politics from those even if anyone wanted to.

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        "Political", less so

        A total ban is a quick and dirty solution. As you say, it's easy to distinguish paid and native if you're Twitter. But how to decide if "issues" campaign advertising is political? For example, NGOs with environment or social concerns; democracy advocates, etc.

    2. J4

      Real life is hard

      Too many loopholes in these policies, because you need to define a political ad. As FB now understands, you can't do that by looking at the message, only by the status of the advertiser. But even that is full of traps. You are a formally registered political candidate ? No ads for you. Easy! Let's go to lunch. Oh, but wait. Which of these are in scope

      1 I am a FRPC, for election X. Can I advertise in concurrent election Y ?

      2 I was a FRPC in election X last time round but not this time. Can I advertise this time ?

      3 I am an employee of a FRPC campaign and wish to advertise as a private citizen ?

      4 I am a FRPC for a legally established party that is campaigning on policies based on proven lies ("bacon is evil, we will ban bacon"). Going to run my ads ?

      5 I am a lobby group, NGO, charity. Can I run an ad unambiguously supporting a FRPC ?

      6 I am a single issue lobby group, NGO, charity. That issue is supported by only one FRPC. Can I advertise ?

      It's almost more honest to ignore the dishonesty and just take everyone's money.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Real life is hard

        This. Just last week, we had an article about an AI classifying "Ebonics" as offensive. The discussions quickly demonstrated the core problems of such an undertaking. Even a surface attempt to formally define "political ad" trivially runs into undecidable problems. As for "false" verse "true"--the entire point of the freedom of speech clause is to be able to "lie" in public about political matters.

        And don't give me that garbage about "the socials are not the government". They can wield FAR more control over the public debate that any but the most repressive of regimes historically attempted. (Consider for instance, "If three people are in a room, one of them is an informer"--what a quaint thought!)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook et al

    No, just no.

  11. Bite my finger

    Biased much?

    "But those efforts have been met with disdain and mockery, particularly an attempt to justify the inclusion of right-wing bait-box Breitbart as a “trusted source” of news."

    We get it Kieren, You consider all conservative thought to be illegitimate. Just so you know, we on the right consider the WAPO and the NYT to be Democrat house organs. Yet they are somehow treated as if they were unbiased, while news outlets that don't go along with the leftist mantra are "bait boxes."

    Why does the Reg continue to publish this person's one-sided opinions?

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Happy

      Re: Biased much?

      The Register is a website dealing with news stories about computing technology and loosely related topics.

      It is up to the editor to decide what gets published.

      You are not the editor.

      You do not get to tell the journos what to write about or how to write about it.

      You do not get to tell the editor how he or she does their job.

      We don't really have freedom of speech rights in the UK, unless you are about to be hung from the gibbet at Tyburn.

      Perhaps you are under the impression that you are living in an authoritarian state and can silence any news medium that disagrees with you?

      You are Donald Trump and I claim my five Pounds!

      When did you learn to write whole sentences?

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Biased much?

      Why does the Reg continue to publish this person's one-sided opinions?

      You seem to be suffering from a few one-sided opinions yourself...

      Most non-partisan observers would agree that Breitbart is rather biased.

      https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/breitbart/

    3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Biased much?

      In fairness, I think there was a typo . . . Breitbart should be referred to as a "right-wing 'bate-box."

    4. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "You consider all conservative thought to be illegitimate"

      No - it's that Breitbart really sucks. And the rest of your comment is bollocks.

      C.

  12. Ptol

    In the world of Boaty Mc Boat Face, I can see Adriel Hampton becoming an elected politician. What a great way to run your campaign!

  13. SVV Silver badge

    This person has made clear he registered as a candidate to get around our policies

    Yes, and he was being totally upfront and honest about it, which makes him far better than the candidates backed with corporate paymasters money who will be using all sort of lies and propoganda on your platform with impunity whilst hypocritically claiming to be virtuous and acting in the interests of "the people". By banning him, you have proved just how screwed up your policies really are. Still, enjoy all the money you get from the political advertising, even though every single bit of it just makes the world a slightly worse place.

    1. Louis Schreurs

      Re: This person has made clear he registered as a candidate to get around our policies

      Telling the truth, i.e. not lying, disqualified him as a true politician.

      There you are, lol

  14. Dr. G. Freeman

    Can I sue Facebook for Slander if it thinks I'm a politician ?

  15. phuzz Silver badge
    Alert

    If you work for Facebook

    Quit now.

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