FILE PHOTO: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event about the U.S. economy at Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware, U.S., June 5, 2020. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
(Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign published an open letter to Facebook (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, calling for the company to fact-check politicians’ ads in the weeks ahead of the U.S. presidential election.
“There should be a two-week pre-election period during which all political advertisements must be fact-checked before they are permitted to run on Facebook,” the letter said.
The Biden campaign’s move adds to pressure faced by Facebook to alter its policies around political ads and speech. Zuckerberg last week promised a review of its content policies after the company faced backlash over taking no action on a post by Republican President Donald Trump that were labeled by Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) for violating the smaller rival’s rules.
The Biden campaign’s list of demands included that Facebook should promptly remove false, viral information and that there should be clear rules “applied to everyone, including Donald Trump — that prohibit threatening behavior and lies about how to participate in the election.”
The Biden campaign also asked supporters to sign a petition calling on Facebook to crack down on misinformation in ads.
In a blog post, Facebook said it would continue to protect political speech.
“We live in a democracy, where the elected officials decide the rules around campaigns,” the company responded.
“Two weeks ago the President of the United States issued an executive order directing Federal agencies to prevent social media sites from engaging in activities like fact-checking political statements. This week, the Democratic candidate for President started a petition calling on us to do the exact opposite.” [
Facebook, which exempts politicians’ ads from its third-party fact-checking program, has previously come under fire from the Biden campaign after it refused to take down a Trump ad that Biden’s team said contained false claims about his son Hunter’s dealings with Ukraine.
Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis