Facebook has come under fire for its policies on political ads over the past few weeks, and now Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has joined the chorus of voices in support of fact-checking politicians.
“We subject all advertising to review, including political advertising,” Spiegel said in an interview on CNBC. “And I think what we try to do is create a place for political ads on our platform, especially because we reach so many young people and first-time voters we want them to be able to engage with the political conversation, but we don’t allow things like misinformation to appear in that advertising.”
Earlier this year, Facebook allowed President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign to post a baseless ad about Joe Biden on its platform, stirring criticism over the company’s ad policies. In the months since, major social media platforms have faced questions about their role in moderating against lies told by political candidates, and they’ve faced new skepticism from lawmakers and regulators over their answers.
Shortly after the Biden campaign reached out to the company, Katie Harbath, Facebook’s public policy director for global elections, responded, saying that it was company policy not to fact-check politicians.
“Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is,” Harbath said at the time.
Only a few weeks later, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced via a tweet thread that his company would be moving to ban all political ads on November 22nd. As of Friday, November 15th, there were two different sets of rules for policing political and cause-based ads on Twitter.
Twitter and Snapchat’s political ad businesses are far smaller than Facebook’s. Throughout the 2018 midterm season, Twitter only brought in $3 million with political ads. According to Open Secrets, the 2020 Democratic candidates have only spent around $200,000 on Snapchat.