Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg steers a different course than Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on political ads and free speech.
There haven’t been many times in the last several years that
conservative members of Congress have found common cause with social media tech
giants. Every time a senior member of a social media group was in a
Congressional hearing, it was cringeworthy.
Within the last week the head of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, made the
executive decision to ban ALL political advertisements on the platform. While this
move is well within the right of a private company to do, the decision smacks
of a chilling of free speech. Politicians, PACs, or citizens wishing to connect
with voters will no longer have the ability to buy and place ads on Twitter.
It wouldn’t be hard to picture other social media companies following the same path. Surprisingly, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to defend free speech and will continue to allow political ads on its platform. At Georgetown University, Zuckerberg:
Defended the company’s decision to allow misinformation in political advertising on the platform, despite high-profile pushback against the policy.
“Given the sensitivity around political ads, I’ve considered whether we should stop allowing them altogether,” Zuckerberg said. “But political ads are an important part of voice – especially for local candidates, up-and-coming challengers and advocacy groups that may not get much media attention otherwise. Banning political ads favors incumbents and whoever the media covers.”
Ted Cruz agrees with this assessment and approach. And as a staunch conservative, free speech matters. He wrote:
If citizens are silenced, then the media and politicians are the only ones left. If you trust the New York Times to speak for you, great. If you think Fox News deserves to speak more than you do, well, this policy is great for you too.
But, if you think a lot of media are really, really biased, then censoring citizens and candidates and giving the media a monopoly is a terrible idea.
A ban on political ads only harms those who want change and
emboldens those already in power. At least in this instance, Facebook and
Zuckerberg made the right decision.