Facebook to stop sending employees to assist with political campaigns
Facebook is no stranger to political scandal, and its latest move – to retire the practice of sending out staff to assist with politicians’ online advertising campaigns – appears designed to combat just that.
The social network giant has previously offered its services to both President Trump, who took up the offer, and Hillary Clinton, who Facebook says declined the offer. The offer in question entailed Facebook offering dedicated staff to help politicians develop their online advertising campaigns.
This is something the social network is no stranger to; after Google, reports the BBC, Facebook is now the second largest online advertising broker, giving it more than a leg to stand on when it comes to campaign consultancy.
As for the scale of Facebook’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election, Bloomberg reveals that Trump’s campaign spent $44 million (£33 million) from June to November of that year. Hillary Clinton’s expenditure was more modest, coming in at $28 million (£21 million).
Instead of the now-redundant scheme, Facebook has promised to focus on developing its political portal, hoping to steer clear of the pitfalls of fake news which the company has become so synonymous with, instead keeping its users reliably and resourcefully informed.
Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild will also offer free advertising advice to all political parties through its website, the BBC reports. Meanwhile, similar schemes whereby specialised advice is offered up to politicians via dedicated members staff are ongoing at Google and Twitter. As of yet, neither of the companies have indicated that they’ll be following in Facebook’s footsteps.
As for Facebook, this move comes as part of an ongoing process of damage control after a tumultuous few years for the social media giant. Facebook has been accused of altering the course of the 2016 presidential election, in addition to providing inadequate responses to the proliferation of fake news on the site, and mishandling users’ personal data. As for the lasting or tangible impact its latest move will have, only time will tell.