Facebook won’t set itself up as arbiter of campaign ads’ truth

Facebook has done the right thing by not committing to a promise to identify and block false campaign ads, despite political pressure to do so [John Samples, earlier] I don’t think many people have an especially high regard for Facebook’s authority as a guide to political truth. Instead I think the demand for such a promise was driven largely by groups and factions that expect to be good at bringing pressure on Facebook management in the contentious ban-wars that would be certain to result.

For a taste of how the label of “false” in political controversy can depend on ideological presumptions and contestable judgments, here’s Christopher Snowdon’s brisk review of the claim circulated toward the end of the U.K. election campaign that 88% of the Conservative ads (but, conveniently, none of the Labour ads) were dishonest.


  • Congressman Steven Dreihus went after an ad .using an Ohio campaign speech law. SCOTUS got involved. Too bad the election was long over . . . . . So, the First Amendment was, in fact, violated.

  • There is rarely a political ad that is 100% honest. caveat emptor

    • A political ad by definition not honest.