House Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday urged Facebook to be more transparent around its policies on the placement of ads, specifically advertisements for gun accessories.
The Democrats called on the social media giant to make “substantive changes” to its policies on the placements of ads in light of reports of ads showing gun accessories and protective equipment next to content that “amplified election misinformation.” They said similar ads also appeared next to news about the insurrection at the Capitol after Jan. 6
“Targeting ads in this way is dangerous and has the potential to encourage acts of violence,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Facebook on Monday.
“With more than 100 million daily Facebook users in the United States, it is paramount that Facebook take responsibility for where it places advertisements and what those advertisements promote,” the Democrats added. “Furthermore, Facebook should inform advertisers about surrounding content, and make the necessary changes to guarantee that Facebook and companies’ ad dollars are not further supporting or sowing seeds of hate and distrust throughout the country.”
The lawmakers said it is Facebook’s “moral obligation to take action regarding ads that stoke aggression.”
Facebook in January temporarily banned ads that “promote weapon accessories and protective equipment” in the U.S. ahead of President BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE’s inauguration. The Democrats called the temporary ban a “good first step,” but are urging the social media giant to take further action.
They called for detailed responses on Facebook’s policies around advertising by March 22. Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — Amazon draws COVID scrutiny Meta exec who co-founded Diem digital currency leaving the company Two lawyers who filed suit challenging election results ordered to pay nearly 7K MORE, along with the CEOs of Twitter and Google, are scheduled to appear before the committee on March 25.
A spokesperson for Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.