Nearly 90 percent of Facebook's Conservative Ads Are Flagged as 'Misleading,' Report Says

What is Facebook up to now? Well, 'tis the political season. Facebook is brimming with political ads attempting to sway voters.

As a company notorious for housing misinformation and for giving large groups of people a vast platform to engage in discourse, Facebook has attempted to beef up its measures to create a more transparent arena in which citizens can more honestly engage in their politics, in receiving political messages.

But, as reported by First Draft News, a U.K.-based nonprofit that aims to counter misinformation and disinformation online, after conducting a thorough investigation into the matter, it was found that the overwhelming majority of conservative advertisements posted in the weeks before an important U.K. polling day could be labeled as misleading.

In January 2019, Facebook partnered with Full Fact, an independent fact-checking group based in the U.K., which aims to "find, expose and counter" misinformation and work directly with the tech giant to flag manipulative, false posts. Users' "images, videos and articles" will be "rated" as "true, false or a mixture of accurate and inaccurate content," says Full Fact.

First Draft News found that upward of 90 percent of conservative ads in the early part of December were promulgating misleading information. Such ads could have massive implications on how voters cast their ballot, and how opposing parties view the world and each other.

Facebook's policy on censorship of political speech is liberal. A statement released by Facebook states that Facebook "exempts" politicians from third-party fact-checking programs because Facebook does not believe that it's "an appropriate role for [Facebook] to referee political debates" and to "prevent a politician's speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny."

In 2016, Facebook was accused—by some of its own employees—of deliberately omitting news stories that leaned conservative from their trending news section. Facebook has been marred with political scandal since its inception, but particularly starting from the disorder and chaos of the Russian meddling in the 2016 election. As reported by Newsweek, Mark Zuckerberg was in hot water recently for meeting with conservative leaders behind closed doors.

Facebook claims to want to promote a healthy forum for functioning democracy, but critics often accuse it of falling short of that goal.

Correction 12/6 8:28 p.m.: This story has been updated to attribute the study to U.K.-based nonprofit First Draft News. Full Fact fact-checked the political advertisements in the study.

Facebook's Powerful Influence
Facebook's Platform Gives Conservative Ads Considerable Reach Chesnot/Getty