The gods of Silicon Valley are moving against the Trump campaign with one big exception – Facebook.
The powers that be don’t know what to do with political ads and they have a point.
Trying to regulate political speech if a no-win proposition and to be honest the fear is way overblown.
Remember when George W. Bush ran a whisper campaign that wiped out John McCain in the all-important South Carolina primary?
Most have forgotten but it happened and no one went after the Bush campaign or tried to limit what they could say.
No, it is only with Trump that the backlash has grown so severe that restricting political speech is now something to be championed on the left.
Remember also that when Obama expertly used Facebook in 2008 and 2012 everyone championed Facebook and congratulated Obama. But when Trump kicks everyone’s butt via social media they want to change the rules?
Facebook should be commended for its position while Twitter, Youtube and Google should reconsider.
In an interview on 60 Minutes, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the controversial Trump/Biden ad does not violate their policy.
60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl asked Wojcicki, “Have you taken down any of President Trump’s ads at all?” YouTube’s CEO responded, “There are ads of President Trump that were not approved to run on Google or YouTube.” When pressed for an example, Wojcicki added, “Well, they’re available in our transparency report.”
In response to concerns raised after the 2016 election cycle, Google and YouTube, like Facebook, keep a searchable archive of political ads that have run on the site.
60 Minutes reviewed the archive to learn more about President Trump’s problematic political ads. We found that over 300 video ads were taken down by Google and YouTube, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. But the archive doesn’t detail what policy was violated. Was it copyright violation? A lie or extreme inaccuracy? Faulty grammar? Bad punctuation? It’s unclear. The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened. We found very little transparency in the transparency report.
“As you know, conservatives think that you discriminate against them,” Stahl tells YouTube’s Wojcicki, who replies: “Well, first of all there are lots of very successful conservative creators on YouTube… Our systems, our algorithms, they don’t have any concept of understanding what’s a Democrat, what’s a Republican. They don’t have any concept of political bias built into them in any way. And we do hear this criticism from all sides. We also have people who come from more liberal backgrounds who complain about discrimination. And so I think that no matter who you are, we are trying to enforce our policies in a consistent way for everybody.”
The archive does detail how many days the ad ran on the platform before it was taken down, approximately how much Google was paid and how many impressions it received. Typically, ads ran a few days before being yanked, suggesting they reached the target audience before removal.