Facebook’s updated advertising rules could allow politicians to post ads that contain falsehoods without violating any of the company’s terms.
Last week the social networking site altered and thinned out its rules on misinformation so that politicians and political parties are exempt from fact-checking requirements.
This change comes at the same time that President Donald Trump dramatically increased his spending on Facebook ads. Between September 25 and October 1 Trump spent $1,664,958 on political ads—far outspending any of his competitors, according to Facebook’s Ad Library.
Travis Ridout, professor of government and public policy at Washington State University, said that Facebook’s decision to limit the restrictions on political advertising is a way of staying out of the political cross hairs. “As soon as they start becoming the arbiters of what is true and what is not true,” he told Newsweek, “first of all they create a huge job for themselves, second of all they get attacked from politicians from both sides.”