It’s 2020 — a key election year in the US — and Facebook is doubling down on its policy of letting people pay it to fuck around with democracy.
Despite trenchant criticism — including from US lawmakers accusing Facebook’s CEO to his face of damaging American democracy — the company is digging in, announcing as much today by reiterating its defence of continuing to accept money to run microtargeted political ads.
Instead of banning political ads Facebook is trumpeting a few tweaks to the information it lets users see about political ads — claiming it’s boosting “transparency” and “controls” while leaving its users vulnerable to default settings that offer neither.
Political ads running on Facebook are able to be targeted at individuals’ preferences as a result of the company’s pervasive tracking and profiling of Internet users. And ethical concerns about microtargeting led the UK’s data protection watchdog to call in 2018 for a pause on the use of digital ad tools like Facebook by political campaigns — warning of grave risks to democracy.
Facebook isn’t for pausing political microtargeting, though. Even though various elements of its data-gathering activities are also subject to privacy and consent complaints, …read more
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