17 December 2018

To hold Facebook accountable, stop calling it a tech company

Nearly half of Americans get their news from Facebook(!), its newsfeed should be subjected to the same standards of fairness, decency and accuracy as newspapers, television and other media outlets.

Facebook runs ads. Companies that run ads learned a long time ago to track what we're interested in and to use that information to target those ads. That way, they can charge their advertisers more.

For media companies that run ads, especially ones that use public networks, we tell them that they can't lie or mislead, that it's not okay to advertise cigarettes to children or push prescription drugs without including the risks. We have laws governing deceptive advertisements and Truth in Advertising laws. Companies that run ads can't say a car gets 40 miles per gallon unless it's true. They can't say a movie won an Academy Award unless it did. If you say the wool comes from New Zealand, it must.

Facebook places ads just like most media companies do and should be held to the same overall standards.

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