Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang called Wednesday for making it against the law for Facebook to allow false political advertisements to be placed on its platform.
Mr. Yang, a businessman vying to compete in November against President Trump, spoke in support of regulating the social network during a town hall event held in New Hampshire.
“The fact that they don’t take responsibility for the truth of political ads on their network is beyond me,” said Mr. Yang.
“We need to make Facebook own up to its responsibility as a mature company,” Mr. Yang added, calling it a “total cop-out” that it has continued to escape culpability.
Answering a question posed later by the event’s moderator, CNN host Don Lemon, Mr. Yang divulged what he would say if he could speak directly to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Mark, your company is contributing to the disintegration of our democracy,” Mr. Yang said. “If you’re an American and a patriot, and you care about the country your kids will inherit, then you need to have Facebook step up and say there will not be untrue political ads on your platform.”
Asked how to ensure Facebook halts its practice of not verifying the veracity of political ads placed on its platform, Mr. Yang proposed outlawing the company’s current policy.
“Well, my first preference is to sit down with a major organization like Facebook and say, ‘Hey, do the right thing,'” he said. “But if they don’t want to do the right thing, then we have a legislature for a reason. We should just pass a law saying Facebook should not have verifiably false political advertisements on their platform. And if they do, then they should pay a penalty accordingly.”
Facebook did not immediately return a message seeking its reaction to Mr. Yang’s remark.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president, announced in September that the company would not hold political ads to the same standards as other material paid to run on its platform.
“We believe that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Mr. Zuckerberg explained the next month. “People need to be able to see for themselves and be able to make judgments on what the candidates are saying and their character.”
Polling conducted in October by Morning Consult found that 77% of registered voters asked said they would support a law ensuring all ads placed on social networks are factual.
Last week, another 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, proposed regulating social media services by criminalizing the act of spreading disinformation designed to suppress voter turnout.
Preliminary results from this week’s Iowa caucuses placed Ms. Warren and Mr. Yang in third and six place among Democratic presidential candidates, respectively.
© Copyright (c) 2020 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.