Warner calls Facebook's political ad fact-checking policy 'ludicrous'

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerVirginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests Trump asserts his power over Republicans Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support MORE (D-Va.) is doubling down on his calls for Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergZuckerberg says Facebook to review policies over use of force, voter suppression amid criticism Twitter removes Trump campaign tribute to George Floyd claiming copyright complaint On The Money: Initial jobless claims drop to 1.9 million | IRS faces obstacles with remaining stimulus checks | Nearly half of Americans have lost income over coronavirus MORE to reconsider the company’s policy on political advertising, calling the current system "ludicrous" and "short-sighted."

Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said even though the social media giant will continue to fact-check ads that are run by political parties and other third-parties, he said the same rule should be applied to political candidates.

“Do we really want to coarsen our already coarse political debate with Facebook allowing this to take place?” Warner asked during an interview on Tuesday.

“This is ludicrous, I think it is short-sighted and I just hope they’ll recognize that they made a mistake, call a timeout and reconsider,” he added.

This is not the first time Warner has urged Zuckerberg to rethink the new ad policy. 

The Virginia senator sent a letter to tech executive on Monday night, saying that "Facebook's apparent lack of foresight or concern for the possible damages by this policy concerns me." He also demanded that the company provide more details on the change and how it planned to avert the potential negative effects of the policy shift. 

His comments come a week after lawmakers grilled the tech executive over the social platform’s new ad policy. 

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNRCC turns up heat on vulnerable Democrats over Omar's call to abolish police Overnight Energy: US Park Police say 'tear gas' statements were 'mistake' | Trump to reopen area off New England coast for fishing | Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues Engel primary challenger hits million in donations MORE (D-N.Y.) asked Zuckerberg a series of hypothetical questions, including whether she could run ads targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they supported the Green New Deal.

Zuckerberg said that while lying was “bad,” he argued that such a move would depend on the context of where the ad appears.

The tech executive has repeatedly defended Facebook’s lack of fact-checking on political ads. He has maintained that the company should not be in a position to moderate content, saying such a move could be “dangerous.”

“Political ads on Facebook are more transparent than anywhere else,” Zuckerberg said during a speech at Georgetown University earlier this month. “We don’t fact-check political ads… because we believe people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying."

But Warner pushed back against Zuckerberg’s claims, saying that cable news has already set a precedent for how misinformation should be handled.

“While it is an imperfect process, there’s already a precedent that operates on the basis of cable news for political candidate ads,” he told Hill.TV. “Instead they took the precedent set by broadcast TV, which has a different set of rules since they receive an FCC [Federal Communications Commission] license.”

Criticism of the Facebook policy mounted this month after the company allowed a Trump campaign ad to remain on the platform despite criticism that it made unfounded allegations against former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination The Memo: Job numbers boost Trump and challenge Biden Chris Wallace: Jobs numbers show 'the political resilience of Donald Trump' MORE, a Democratic presidential candidate.

—Tess Bonn