Facebook has removed several ads placed by 2020 presidential hopeful, Senator Elizabeth Warren, that called for the breakup of Facebook and other tech giants. Last week, Warren announced that if elected president in 2020, her administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition by breaking up competition killing big mergers. The ads being deleted from Facebook was first revealed by Politico.
The advertisements read, “Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google. We all use them. But in their rise to power, they’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor.”
The ads were taken down and a message was displayed stating, “This ad was taken down because it goes against Facebook’s advertising policies.” However, later a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Politico that the company is in the process of restoring them.
“We removed the ads because they violated our policies against the use of our corporate logo,” the spokesperson said. “In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads.”
Elizabeth Warren also tweeted about this development, stating that she wants a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.
Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let's start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn't dominated by a single censor. #BreakUpBigTech https://t.co/UPS6dozOxn
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 11, 2019
This news sparked a massive discussion on Hacker News. People called it a win-win situation for Warren. A comment on Hacker News reads, “This is smart politics. Rather than simply telling people FB is a monopoly, she runs a limited experiment that had it been left alone, would have limited effect since the budget was so small ($100). Now, this puts FB in a bind. If they really are a middleman for content, then these ads don’t violate any laws and shouldn’t be blocked. However, FB as a company with a product should block it just like a coffee shop wouldn’t allow a banner on the wall saying “better coffee down the street“.
Another user appreciated Warren for her smart move. “It’s very smart, her ad campaign people must have known misusing the Facebook logo would get them denied, but now she gets press for being the victim. You or I couldn’t run those ads, this is special treatment for her”, the comment states.
A user also condemned Facebook for its dumb move. “I would say this is ordinary politics, an obviously calculated provocation we see every day. What is surprising is a such dumb FB reaction. Why such intelligent people make such dumb moves? Are they really that arrogant? Maybe that arrogance is caused by revenue increases after all these scandals. Maybe they treated politicians, in the same way, many times, but in other countries.”
It looks like Warren has won the golden ticket to US presidential elections 2020 as comments like ‘Slay Queen!’ and ‘My Cherokee Princess’ dominated Twitter. Warren’s plan is by far one of the biggest tech regulation plan proposed so far in the 2020 presidential cycle.
Other Democrats running for the 2020 presidential bid include senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, governor Jay Inslee, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Most of them are also keen on tech regulation.
Andrew Yang described Warren’s anti-monopoly position as “unimaginative” and “retrograde,” yet he does believe in taxing tech. Yang says because artificial intelligence is destroying jobs, the tech industry should pay for a universal basic income. However, Klobuchar and Yang’s messages didn’t excite people as much as Warren’s bold move did.