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Facebook executive defends ad policies that ‘very well may’ mean Trump reelection

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A top Facebook executive is defending a controversial memo he sent to employees that suggests the company’s ad policies “very well may lead” to President Trump’s reelection.

In a post to his personal Facebook page Tuesday, Andrew Bosworth said the Dec. 30 memo obtained by The New York Times wasn’t “written for public consumption and I am worried about context collapse.”

He went on to defend his choice of words, adding that he does not oversee the “day-to-day” of the issues discussed. Bosworth, who is vice president of virtual and augmented reality, was head of advertising at Facebook during the 2016 election.

“Overall I hoped this post would encourage my coworkers to continue to accept criticism with grace as we accept the responsibility we have overseeing our platform,” wrote Bosworth. “I end with a call to discussion for what other areas we feel we are falling short that should be a focus in 2020.”

Bosworth, one of the executives who is reportedly closest to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, posted the memo titled “Thoughts for 2020” on the company’s internal network. He addressed many of the issues that have plagued Facebook in recent years, such as Cambridge Analytica, Russia’s election interference, polarization and misinformation.

“So was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected?” he wrote in the memo. “I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period.”

Bosworth then said the company’s ad policies could lead to Trump’s reelection.

“That brings me to the present moment, where we have maintained the same ad policies. It occurs to me that it very well may lead to the same result,” he wrote.

Facebook has had to answer — at times in front of congressional committees — for false information spread on its platform leading up to the 2016 election. More recently, the company has come under fire for its policy of not removing political ads that contain misinformation.

Twitter recently banned political advertising on its platform, but Facebook has not followed suit.

In the memo, Bosworth identified himself several times as a “liberal,” while noting he thinks the left has gone too far at times.

“I think my fellow liberals are a bit too, well, liberal when it comes to calling people Nazis,” he wrote.

Tags 2020 elections Donald Trump Facebook Mark Zuckerberg misinformation political ads Russia Russian interference Twitter
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