Facebook should suspend political ads for UK General Election campaignNov. 5, 2019
NEWS FROM THE OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION
FACEBOOK SHOULD SUSPEND POLITICAL ADS FOR UK GENERAL ELECTION
Facebook has been challenged to introduce a ‘moratorium’ on political adverts in the UK for the duration of the General Election campaign to tackle the spread of disinformation.
The call comes after Twitter banned political adverts worldwide, and amid growing concerns about Facebook's lack of openness.
The Open Knowledge Foundation has joined with other organisations to sign an open letter calling on Facebook to suspend political and issue-based advertising until the conclusion of the election.
The House of Lords Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee chair, David Puttnam, has also warned that UK electoral law has ‘failed to keep pace with technological change’.
Facebook has already removed an advert from a UK tax campaign group for breaking its rules on political advertising. But the 'Fair Tax Campaign' will be able to switch the ad back on if it registers and inserts a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer.
Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:
“Electoral law in the UK hasn’t kept up with the need to tackle the spread of disinformation and ‘fake news’ online.
“To build a fair, free and open future we will need to take regulatory action to increase transparency, but there clearly isn’t time ahead of this year’s UK General Election.
“That’s why Facebook should do the right thing and introduce an immediate moratorium on political adverts for the duration of the campaign.
“This election is too important to be blighted by disinformation, and social media giants need to take greater responsibility for the political ads they receive cash for posting.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Open letter: https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/campaigns/uk-ad-moratorium/
Comment from David Puttnam: https://twitter.com/hldemodigital/status/1191401182494908416?s=21
Facebook removes advert: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-50296664
Contact: Alan Roden at email@example.com or +44 (0)7753 904 531
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