Facebook and Twitter dominate the online political debate of the west and the ethical issue of curbing fake ads directly challenges political end-results, particularly for President Trump.
In this contemporary and competitive world, ethics paradigmatically could be defined as the wherewithal hinged with profitability. Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Spotify and few more social media platforms with worldwide reach that connects almost every inch of the society. Consequently, they have become the go-to platforms for the promotions and advertisements, even political.
Heads Up! Markets TRUMPet Facebook Over Twitter
- Why Trump favours Facebook’s Policies over Twitter
- Facebook lets Trump do what he wants, Twitter not so much
- Trump keeps singing praises of Mark Zuckerberg
- Trump swiped at Jack Dorsey on more than one occasions
- Trump’s Economy and Markets love Facebook more than Twitter
As per the Centre for Responsive Politics till November 2019, US presidential candidates had spent an overwhelming $105 million on digital ads. Out of $105 million, Facebook solely gathered $67 million. Among them, the present US President Donald Trump led the race.
However, the question that has been haunting is the ethical aspect of promotions, i.e. whether political ads targeting voters are factual or not. Many public and political debates have attacked digital ads because of their nefarious persuasive style. Ads are used as an organizational tool that changes the tides by organically politicizing fake content.
In the social media debate of the west, Facebook and Twitter are the top two platforms used by electoral candidates. Therefore, the ethical issue now directly challenges political end-results, particularly for Trump.
Why Trump favours Facebook’s Policies over Twitter
In 2019 itself, when the US presidential candidates started campaigning, especially Trump, who leads the maximum spending list, the social media giant Facebook decided to exempt all political ads from their fact-checking process. This literally means allowing lies as long as you pay Facebook to spread them.
However, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC defended the company’s decision not to ban political ads that even contain misleading and falsehoods messages. Zuckerberg said that limiting political ads would be censorship curtailing freedom of speech.
Furthermore, he added that barring all political ads would favour incumbent politicians and leaders, and whomever the media houses chose to cover.
Facebook lets Trump do what he wants, Twitter not so much
The Trump election as the US President has triggered a frenzy of blame, arguing that Facebook fueled Trump’s rise by allowing the circulation of fake and misleading news on almost every political topic. According to a report by The New York Times, a Facebook executive has told employees that Facebook had a moral duty not to go against Trump as he seeks re-election.
Even Joe Biden also criticized the company for refusing to remove a controversial and unproven video posted by Donald Trump re-election campaign involving Biden and his son. TJ Ducklo, Joe Biden’s Press Secretary, also said that it is unacceptable that a social media platform deliberately allows misleading materials and outfits to defame the opposition without any substantial pieces of evidence.
Trump sings praises of Mark Zuckerberg
Recently on 7th January 2020, while speaking on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, Donald Trump had claimed that Zuckerberg told him that he (Trump) is ‘number one on Facebook’. Later, they both had dinner. Actually, there have been many reports of private meetings and dinner parties between Trump and Zuckerberg.
Moreover, Trump is a major advertiser on Facebook. As per an analysis by The Guardian, Trump campaign launched more than 5,800 different ads, especially after the controversial news publically surfaced when a whistleblower complaint about Ukraine calls. However, 40% of these ads mentioned Trump’s impeachment.
Has taken a swipe at Jack Dorsey on more than one occasions
In April 2019, Trump called a private meeting with Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, at the White House. Trump accused Dorsey of playing political games and deliberately tampering with his 60 million followers. On the other hand, Twitter limited or removed several of them.
Dorsey explained that the number of followers fluctuates as his company takes action against fraudulent and fake accounts and also weeds them out from the platform. Twitter takes this step primarily because of the misinformation attempts during the US 2016 presidential election campaign. Dorsey further added that his company focuses on the entire public discourse and intends to make it healthier.
In November 2019, Dorsey banned all political ads on their platform. Thousands congratulated Twitter for showing positive and real statesmanship. The ban mainly encompasses paid tweets along with political ads. In one of his tweets, Dorsey said that ‘political message reach should be earned not bought’.
The company’s announcement was applauded from the Democrat front. However, it was criticized by Trump who decried the move and pointed it as an anti-conservative bias. donal-
Consequently, Trump’s Economy and Markets love Facebook more than Twitter
The daily user base of twitter accounts to 321 million, of which company generates revenue from 145 million users. According to a Pew study estimate, approximately 22% of the US adults use Twitter.
Even during the 2018 US midterms, according to Ned Segal, Twitter’s CFO, the company earned less than $3 million from political ads. But, the best part is that twitter offers political newcomers the chance to communicate to the journalist and political elites which are the crucial population to get the high engagement that leads to news coverage too.
Furthermore, Twitter is relatively a small user base compared to that of Facebook and Google. Furthermore, twitter’s stringent policies force it to pay a hefty price. The growing market over the years has punished the company for following ethical means instead of the profit-maximizing policies.
In fact, Facebook’s incoherent position is an abstract to unregulated obscurity where the biases are safely hidden from the people who are using the platforms. These same people are the ones affected by the misleading messages that go unchecked because of Facebook’s profit-making business.