The latest Facebook outrage – apparently a medium which carries political advertising has been carrying political advertising. This is, of course, that outrage and something must be done.
Quite what is difficult to discern for an insistence upon the truth in political advertising just ain’t gonna work, is it?
Facebook has been accused of “pumping out fake news” after running political adverts claiming endangered animals were being threatened – by Brexit. The social media giant has been paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by Britain’s two most prominent Remain campaign groups to stir up support for a second referendum. Latest figures released by the Facebook show the two organisations – People’s Vote UK and Best for Britain – spent £373,587 on Facebook ads in the run up to the parliamentary vote on Theresa May’s defeated Brexit deal. By contrast, Leave-supporting groups spent a little over £93,000, according to an analysis by the Telegraph of political income disclosed by Facebook.
Run through the problem here. Politics is in itself varied sets of people shouting at each other about what is the truth. The world should be this or that way, the world is in fact this or that in this manner. There is no agreement upon what is the objective truth because that’s why we’ve got politics in the first place. There is no politics of gravity while there is concerning the correct level of inequality. Simply because there’s no agreed truth on that second.
Thus how can we have some objective standard of truth concerning political advertising? We can’t, can we? So what’s all this shouting at Facebook then?
As a bonus question, consider what would happen if Facebook were in fact to apply some objective standard to what people could say in political advertising. We all really want what may or may not be said in politics to be determined by a foreign and capitalist firm?