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OpinionLetters

Facebook should flag dishonest political ads

Reader letter to Newsday for Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019

A Facebook app is shown on a smartphone

A Facebook app is shown on a smartphone in Miami.  Credit: AP/Wilfredo Lee

Anyone who believes news or ads on Facebook that come from unfamiliar or unreliable sources is foolish [“Facebook’s disservice to the nation,” Opinion, Oct 27].

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that his social media company will not police lies in political ads. This gives dishonest politicians a free pass to bend and break the truth.

While I fully support free speech, this is a step too far, as ads are targeted to specific users and there are limited tools to check facts. TV stations and newspapers have a responsibility to deny the publication of blatant lies. I would like to see Facebook fact-check political ads from candidates, campaigns and PACs.

If an ad is false, then a red banner with the words “This ad contains statements that are not truthful” should be overlaid. Politicians who are prone to producing false ads would quickly change content to avoid being flagged.

Steve Johannesman,

Bayport

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