Zuckerberg v Dorsey, round 1

Jack Dorsey, head of Twitter, just announced that political advertising will not be allowed on his platform. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, will allow political ads and has taken a hands-off approach to policing political ads for false or deceptive content. The stakes are high and the debate is contentious.

Regardless of your political views, you can easily see how these different policies are complicated by very real and important foundational issues. First up is freedom of speech. In the US Constitution, freedom of speech as enshrined in the First Amendment is at the center of this debate. First and foremost the First Amendment protects political speech…which includes political advertisements. Those who are First Amendment absolutists argue that the solution to wrong speech is not banning speech. Rather, the solution is to allow MORE speech. In the end, they argue, truth will win out as long as everyone is free to speak and present their views. Score one for Zuckerberg

If you have a lower view of human nature you might argue, yeah, but advertising is paid speech, and those with the most money can afford the most advertising and most sophisticated advertising strategies and campaigns. Free speech is great, but allowing people with money to distribute political messages to the masses without any responsibility to speak truthfully will result in many people being deceived and manipulated for political ends. Score one for Dorsey

I could go on but am more interested in your thoughts. Which of the arguments articulated by Zuckerberg and Dorsey resonate with you?

One Reply to “Zuckerberg v Dorsey, round 1”

  1. I can see both sides especially with recent news of elections that involved Cambridge Analytica. I do think political advertising is important too so that we can learn more about the candidate or ballot issue in question. Hard to police this. From a business standpoint, Facebook is making a smarter decision while Twitter will be rejecting a big stream of revenue. If it were me, I’d lean more towards a Zuckerberg mindset. It would be awesome if Facebook screened the advertisement and checked the facts for approving though

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