“Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing:” Facebook Staff Demand Organization prevent false information in political ads Zoe Zorka October 29, 2019 Tech News, Technology The 2020 election is almost a year away, but the buzz surrounding the election is getting louder by the day. Whether it’s hip-hop artists and celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Angie Martinez, H.E.R., Fat Joe, Flipp Dinero, Becky G, CNCO, and Farruko encouraging fans to register to vote through their Rock the Vote initiative or artists, celebrities, and ordinary people voicing their political opinions on social media, there’s no shortage of election talk. However, despite the fact that we still don’t even know who most of the candidates are yet, this hasn’t stopped politicians, organizations, and special interest groups from campaigning- and campaigning hard. While political ads have been around since decades and many have been notoriously negative, this election is already proving to be problematic because unlike in years past, where ads were placed on television or in print media (both heavily regulated), many groups are turning to social media- where there is less fact-checking and the possibility of fake news. On Monday, The New York Times published a letter that was originally posted to Facebook’s internal collaboration forum a few weeks ago in which they openly petitioned for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook leaders to address misinformation in political ads. The letter stated that “free speech and paid speech are not the same thing” while listing some of the consequences of false news as well as making requests for improvement. Some of the requests include measures such as submitting campaign ads to fact-checking, limiting microtargeting, capping ad spending, observing silence periods, and warning users who may be in violation of the company’s false news policies. The letter pointed out the fact that other ads are subject to checking for validity and must conform to certain standards. As of yet, there has been no formal response from Facebook’s embattled leadership who have been in court in recent months for privacy and other violations. The full letter can be read on The New York Times website.