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Sandberg says Facebook allows fake news ads from legit accounts

Sandberg says Facebook allows fake news ads from legit accounts
From TechCrunch - October 12, 2017

If the Russian-bought election interference ads hadnt been bought by fraudulent accounts, Most of them would be allowed to run Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said this morning. The responsibility of an open platform is to allow people to express themselves she said during the first of an Axios interview series with Facebook execs.

The thing about free expression is when you allow free expression you allow free expression Sandberg said, noting that wedont check what people post and that she doesnt think people should want Facebook to.

The linchpin quote of the interview was when Sandberg said The question is should divisive, political, or issue ads runour answer is yes, because when you cut off speech for one person, then you cut off speech for all people.

The perspective maintains Facebooks neutrality across the political spectrum and absolves it from being the truth police. But it also means that its knowingly creating a platform where people can misinform each other.

That raises the question of how free speech scales to user-generated content sharing networks that lack the curation and editorial oversight of traditional news distribution systems. Sandberg dodged Axios editor Mike Allens question about whether Facebook is a media company, and wasnt pressed about how it accepts money for ads like other media companies.

Facebook plans to hire 1,000 more human moderators to protect election integrity, make all ads transparent to everyone rather than visible just to those targeted, and increase scrutiny on political ad buys. But can the fake news issue ever be solved if Facebook actually permits fake news under the banner of free speech?

During her talk, Sandberg also confirmed that Facebook will support the plan of congressional investigators probing election interference to release the Russian-bought ads to the public. She said she met with congress yesterday, Facebook is fully cooperating, and that it will provide congress any content investigators want. That includes non-ads. Alot of them, if they were run by legitimate people, we would let them run Sandberg explained.

She also said targeting information about the ads will be released to the public as well. We have a responsibility to do everything we can do to prevent this kind of abuse said Sandberg. Were hoping to set a new standard in transparency in advertising. Though at the same time, she blatantly dodged a question about whether the Russian-bought ads and Donald Trumps campaign ads had matching targeting.

As for the accusation that Facebook causesfilter bubbles by surrounding us with information shared by our social graph instead of a more impartial news source, Sandberg said Facebook actually broadens our perspective through exposure to our weak ties and acquaintances. She cited studies showing we see a wider view of the news through the lens of Facebook than traditional sources.

You can watch the full talk with Sandberg below:

Sandbergs comments come alongside newly exposed information about the effectiveness of Facebooks fight against fake news. In an email obtained by BuzzFeed, Facebooks manager of news partnerships Jason White wrote to one of the companys third-party fact checkers:

A Slippery Slope Worth Navigating

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