- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Facebook came under fire from a top Democratic National Committee official Tuesday for not fact-checking political advertisements paid to appear on the social networking service.

Seema Nanda, the DNC’s chief executive officer, said Facebook is allowing President Trump “to mislead the American people on their platform unimpeded” by not vetting the claims contained in ads bought by his re-election campaign, CNN reported.

“We know that Trump has an utter disregard for the truth,” Ms. Nanda said, according to the outlet.

Ms. Nanda made the remarks in response to Facebook confirming last week that the company will not fact-check posts or ads for politicians, including Mr. Trump, despite the president’s knack for sharing misinformation on social media.

She said that the DNC was “deeply disappointed in Facebook’s decision to exempt statements from political candidates from its fact-checking policy,” adding that it “sets a dangerous precedent for others to follow suit,” CNN reported.

“Social media platforms have a responsibility to protect our democracy and counter disinformation online. This is a serious missed opportunity by Facebook,” Ms. Nanda said, according to the outlet.

Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president, said last week that the company does not hold political content to the same standards as other material posted on its platform.

“We have a responsibility to protect the platform from outside interference, and to make sure that when people pay us for political ads we make it as transparent as possible,” Mr. Clegg, the former U.K. deputy prime minister, said an event in D.C. “But it is not our role to intervene when politicians speak. We do not submit speech by politicians to our independent fact-checkers, and we generally allow it on the platform even when it would otherwise breach our normal content rules.”

Mr. Trump’s election campaign invested about $44 million in Facebook ads during his first run for the White House, and his reelection campaign has spent almost $20 million on Facebook ads since May 2018, CNN reported.

Laura Edelson, a researcher at New York University, recently assessed that Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign spent up to $2 million last week on Facebook ads pushing back against the newly launched impeachment inquiry currently putting his presidency at risk, CNN reported this week.

White House hopeful Kamala Harris, California Democrat, said Monday evening that Mr. Trump should be suspended from Twitter because of his posts on that platform attacking the impeachment probe and the lawmakers leading it, among others, meanwhile.

“I think there’s plenty of now evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm to other people,” the Democratic senator said. “And so the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, similarly said last month that Mr. Trump should be suspended from Twitter after he shared a post that falsely suggested that she had been celebrating during the recent anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk,” Ms. Omar tweeted at the time. “What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation?”

Twitter did not immediately comment.

The company has previously announced efforts to address threats posed by hostile actors, both foreign and domestic, including new policies introduced last fall meant to protect the integrity of elections across the world.

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