Statement on Facebook’s Political Advertising Debacle

For Immediate Release
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Accountable Tech co-founder Jesse Lehrich released the following statement Thursday in response to Facebook’s political advertising debacle:

“It’s infuriating to see Facebook’s ineptitude and aversion to transparency once again inflict avoidable damage during the final stretch of an election. Their seven-day freeze on new political ads was roundly criticized by experts and strategists on both sides of the aisle as soon as it was announced, and then they managed to compound those issues by botching its implementation. Worst of all, rather than immediately acknowledging and working to remedy their error, they effectively went dark for days as political and issue advertisers frantically sought answers.

Campaigns and grassroots organizations can’t get back the 48 hours of advertising they just lost in the last week of GOTV – ads that in some cases were designed to counter voter suppression tactics already being deployed.

It didn’t have to be like this. Facebook had four years to come up with comprehensive policies ahead of this election, and instead they continue to rely on ad hoc, press-driven policy-making. They must immediately clarify exactly what went wrong, why they failed to disclose the problems, and which advertisers bore the brunt of their failures.

Ultimately, there must be real accountability for this fiasco and fundamental changes that ensure Facebook can no longer operate with total impunity.”