November 19, 2019
Snapchat checks for deception in political ads
Snap on Monday confirmed that it checks political ads at Snapchat to make sure they are not deceptive or misleading and thus enforce its ban on such material.
The strategy seems to be a middle ground between Facebook's controversial tolerance of proven lies in political ads and Twitter's decision to ban them all together.
"And I think what we try to do is create a place for political ads on our platform, especially because we reach so many young people and first-time voters we want them to be able to engage with the political conversation, but we don't allow things like misinformation to appear in that advertising."
Snap policies prohibit political ads that are deceptive or misleading, with an in-house team reviewing such paid messages to make sure they don't break the rules.
Twitter last week said its ban on political ads will exempt "caused-based" messages on topics related to social or environmental issues.
The San Francisco-based messaging platform plans to bar all paid political messages starting November 22, while addressing concerns expressed by activists for social causes.
"Ads that educate, raise awareness, and/or call for people to take action in connection with civic engagement, economic growth, environmental stewardship, or social equity causes are allowed," Twitter said in its new policy.
"However, they may not reference prohibited political advertisers or political content."
Twitter announced the political ad ban on October 30, saying the move was aimed at countering the spread of misinformation by politicians.
The political ban has drawn mixed reactions: some argue it puts pressure on Facebook to follow suit or take other steps to curb the spread of misinformation from politicians; others say a ban will be difficult to enforce.
Social media platforms have been challenged by President Donald Trump's campaign and its use of ads that contain claims which critics say have been debunked by independent fact-checkers.
Some analysts point out that the ban will not affect "organic" content, or messages from politicians that are shared or retweeted by supporters, and that it could encourage the use of "bots" or paid users to amplify the tweets.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said political advertising is not a major source of revenue but adds that he believes it is important to allow everyone a "voice," and that banning political ads would favor incumbents.
© 2019 AFP