back to article You know Facebook has an image problem when major nonprofits start turning down donations over political lies

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's refusal to apply platform policies to moderate rule-breaking posts by President Trump and other political figures has prompted a pair of tech policy groups to stop accepting money from the ad biz. On Wednesday, Public Knowledge and the Open Technology Institute said they would no longer accept …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    Obvious Zuck is obvious

    Burying propaganda sponsored by foreign states counts for something. But Facebook remains committed to distributing political lies. Zuckerberg justifies this stance as a defense of freedom of expression; it's also a defense of freedom from accountability.

    He so wants to join the Mafia^WTrump administration. He's not quite there yet, but maybe he'll be rewarded after the next election.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Obvious Zuck is obvious

      Of all the things Facebook does, not censoring Trump should be the least of our concerns.

  2. sabroni Silver badge
    Unhappy

    stop using it

    Only way to make him change.

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge

      Re: stop using it

      That would mean I have to sign up first.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: stop using it

        Not signing up doesn't stop you being used by it, unfortunately.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: stop using it

          Not signing up doesn't stop you being abused by it, unfortunately.

          That seems more accurate.

          Not on Suckbook and never will be. Any information on there about me has been obtained without my consent and may well be a complete pack of porkies.

          1. heyrick Silver badge
            Happy

            a complete pack of porkies

            What to do if there's a second lockdown, suggestion 32463:

            Sign up to Facebook, make numerous posts that are what you wish your life was like rather than what it is like. Help spread the porkies.

          2. chivo243 Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: stop using it

            and may well be a complete pack of porkies. Or not!

            1. Phones Sheridan

              "What to do if there's a second lockdown"

              I was thinking create a library of photographs of beauty spots and beaches, then posting them every couple of days onto social media to give the impression that I'm in the middle of a world trip. The curtain twitching daily mail readers would be frothing at the mouth, spamming their report buttons and dialling 999 repeatedly if the current lockdown is anything to go by.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: stop using it

          Not signing up doesn't stop you being used by it, unfortunately.

          Which is where NoScript comes in - hard for their tracking scipts to run against my machine if I refuse to let them..

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: stop <strike>using</strike> working for it

      Was contacted by a Facebook Reality Labs (Oculus Research) person more than a year ago asking if I'd be interested in an opening they had. Said I didn't want to sully my reputation being associated with Facebook. If the employees really don't like the company's policies they should vote with their feet an go work for companies they are proud to be associated with.

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: stop <strike>using</strike> working for it

        Not sure your HTML tags are working. Just sayin like...

      2. idiottaxpayerhere previously ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

        Re: stop <strike>using</strike> working for it

        Take it they didn't offer you enough money then?

        Cheers… Ishy

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: stop <strike>using</strike> working for it

          "Take it they didn't offer you enough money then?"

          I can't speak for the OP, but ... The gootards tried to recruit me a dozen or so years ago. The interview didn't go well. I completely shredded the youngster attempting to figure out if I knew anything about the internet. Said youngster didn't even seem to know the difference between HTTP and TCP/IP ... WTF? This was supposed to be a technical interview! They made me an offer anyway. Three times, each time jacking up the offer. I laughed at 'em. Three more times.

          Facebook, a couple years later, didn't even get that far. I told 'em when they first contacted me that they didn't have enough money to corrupt my morals. I got two more phone calls before they seem to have received the message.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: stop <strike>using</strike> working for it

            "[...] they didn't have enough money to corrupt my morals."

            My company's departmental management offered me promotion to a top grade - on condition that I accepted "collective responsibility" viz didn't publicly challenge what appeared to be bad decisions.

            I refused - saying I was happy to remain a good techie - and part of my role was to keep management honest.

      3. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: stop <strike>using</strike> working for it

        they should vote with their feet an go work for companies they are proud to be associated with

        Those kinds of companies often seem in short supply.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zuch in this instance is in an impossible situation.

    What the president of the US says/writes is important - even if you dont agree with it, it is something a significant percentage of the population want to hear. At the end of the day, you dont have to listen to it.

    To block or otherwise interfere with the presidents posts with 'factcheck' or other tags is, by action, interfering in the electoral process - irrespective of which side makes the statement. One cant put a flag on a rally speech- and we think it inappropriate if someone tries to disrupt that speech.

    Like many of the things the president says, it can be seen by some as hate/, while others see it as a form of truth.

    If Zuch was to interfere (as with Twitter) - then FB ends up labled as oligarchical or corporate interference.

    In the words of Beatrice Hall (Miss attributed to Voltaire)

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

    1. DJO Silver badge

      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

      That applies to opinions and personal philosophy, lies are not protected speech.

      There is no god given or amendment given right to lie, dissemble or mislead without repercussions.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      So if the President says "Lynch all those Niggers", you'll be OK for that to be up there?

      If not, please enlighten us where you draw the line?

      As for freedom of speech, a private company. They can choose who they host. They can choose to host the KKK but decide not to host a Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute page.

      So take that "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

      And just tag on, "but I won't have you saying those things in my house"

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Facepalm

        If Trump were to say that, you could be pretty sure he'd be voted out in November.

        That's why free speech is important.

        1. Mr F&*king Grumpy

          calibration out of date

          "If Trump were to say that, you could be pretty sure he'd be voted out in November." you'd like to think so, wouldn't you? But frankly it doesn't seem unlikely to me.

          1. MiguelC Silver badge

            Re: calibration out of date

            There is precedent supporting that it wouldn't matter to his following...

            1. Len Silver badge
              Meh

              Re: calibration out of date

              The unprecedented president.

      2. Jaybus

        "As for freedom of speech, a private company. They can choose who they host. They can choose to host the KKK but decide not to host a Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute page."

        They do NOT have free reign to refuse hosting to whomever they choose. The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination by privately owned places of public accommodation on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin. Places of "public accommodation" include restaurants, hotels, banks, health clubs, and basically any service. It was enacted long before there was an Internet, but I'm fairly certain most judges would deem Facebook a place of public accommodation. In fact, FB deems itself an internet service and not a media company so that they don't fall under the media rules.

        1. jake Silver badge

          "They do NOT have free reign to refuse hosting to whomever they choose."

          Don't be silly. Of course they do. Their servers, their rules.

          "The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination by privately owned places of public accommodation on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin."

          True enough. However, one is allowed to bar anybody because in one's opinion allowing them would cause more trouble than one is willing to put up with.

          I can throw you out of my publicly accessible barn and ban you from my property because your pandering makes the rest of my clientele uncomfortable, REGARDLESS of what you are babbling about. It's not discrimination to bar someone for interfering with a business.

    3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      "What the president of the US says/writes is important"

      Yeah ok... if you say so. I think you'll find the enlightened 99% of rest of the world, including parts of the US itself, can see the Orange twat for what he is - and that is as an out of his depth childish bullshitter whose use of Social media is solely designed to deflect the absolute criticism he deserves. The fact that three years on, he still calls anything said about him "fake news" illustrates my point precisely.

      If you think Trump and his family of suckling cronies have done anything worthwhile over the last four years to "make America great again" then you truly do deserve him as your leader - preferably on your own isolated island in the South Atlantic.

      1. jake Silver badge

        "his family of suckling cronies"

        I prefer mewling sycophants ... more descriptive, and a trifle more accurate.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      "What the president of the US says/writes is important"

      Covfefe.

    5. jake Silver badge

      "Zuch in this instance is in an impossible situation."

      Oh, bullshit. The idiot in chief is NOT welcome to post on any of my Web pages. Period. If he attempts to do so, I will nuke his post(s). Quite frankly, I don't need or want the idiocy that follows him around, and will not put up with it, not even for a minute. This is perfectly within my rights, and there is absolutely nothing to stop me from doing it.

      The head Zchmuck at facebook has that exact same right with what is, to all intents and purposes, HIS web site. That's right, kiddies, you don't own your facebook page. Facebook does. And by extension, Zchmuck (owning over 60% of the company) can do with it what he likes. Including nuking it or a part of it. Like it or not, facebook is not a public place. It's Zchmuck's place. Whatever you have there is ephemeral, subject to the whims of the owner.

      Another way of putting it: Freedom of the press belongs to the person who owns the press. This trumps freedom of speech. You are not allowed to borrow the Web Presses and distribution channels at the NYTimes to print and distribute your opinions UNLESS the NYT allows it.

    6. JcRabbit

      So the one person here defending freedom of speech - which is one of the pillars of Democracy - gets down voted to hell just because you guys don't like Trump? Wow. Just wow. No wonder the whole world is going insane. lol

      1. jake Silver badge

        I rather suspect that the downvotes had nothing to do with Trump, but rather the fact that the OP was spouting a bunch of bullshit. The fact is that the idiot-in-chief is not free to use private property to advance his cause ... not without the permission of the property owner. On top of that, the property owner can allow that speech, with the caveat that hate, lies and bullshit will be either flagged of deleted, at the whims of the property owner.

        And trust me, facebook is private property. That they have decided to allow the hate, lies and bullshit is telling .... kind of like your redneck neighbor who insists on displaying the so-called "rebel" flag and having a white-power bumpersticker on his pickup truck. It's legal, right?

        Fortunately for you, you are equally free to associate with them, or not. I personally choose not to associate with facebook, for this and many other reasons.

        But hey, the OP was free to post his commentardary here on ElReg ... this is a good thing, right? Likewise, the thumbs-downers were free to down vote him ... this is also a good thing, right?

        The consequences of you having the freedom of speech are that others are free to criticize you. So voice your opinion! Please! Just don't bitch about it when other people also voice their opinion.

  4. PhilipN

    Render unto Caesar ....

    Doesn't work - sorry, J.C.

    Need not only to be squeaky clean but have the appearance of being squeaky clean.

    To sort of mix metaphors, it is not just any old shilling when it is the King's Shilling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Render unto Caesar ....

      That particular Biblical quote was about paying government-required taxes, and was a response to a trap (if he said "don't pay", the Herodians would have him arrested for advocating tax evasion, if he said "pay", the Pharisees would publicly decry him for supporting the Roman occupiers.)

      This particular case is about whether a social media company has the responsibility of pointing out, or outright censoring, the false and harmful (note the AND!) statements of a major political figure.

      1. PhilipN

        Re: Render unto Caesar ....

        Actually about the avoidance of hypocrisy, which was the point I was making.

  5. Maximum Delfango
    Facepalm

    So what's that little blue 'f' for then?

    You know, the one at the bottom of most pages on The Reg?

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: So what's that little blue 'f' for then?

      Looks red to me - you sure you're not "f" blind?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: So what's that little blue 'f' for then?

        What "f" is that?

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I suppose he'll just look t it as more money in his pocket.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Political lies

    I can accept that that slimy git refuses to censor white supremacy. His platform, his choice.

    What I cannot accept is the people spouting these lies never being held accountable for their consequences.

    If I say something completely wrong about the US election process, such as mail-in votes are a new Democrate concept designed to make Trump lose, I expect to be completely and thoroughly debunked in the following comments.

    But when some asshole on Fox News makes that statement looking straight in the camera, I hear no such debunking, no wave of outrage, no correction whatsoever and, most importantly, no legal action against either Fox News or the specific asshole spouting his lies.

    The US has a real problem with Truth, and not enforcing it is the first problem.

    1. handle handle

      Re: Political lies

      Yes, a Ministry to enforce Truth. I read something about that once ...

    2. EagleZ28

      Re: Political lies

      The problem with this is...

      Who GETS to decide what is truth, and what isn't?

      To put it in a different light... to get Trump OUT of the equation...

      If you let hard scientists decide how many human genders there are... I think you'll find that, overwhelmingly, there are only two, unless you count real hermaphrodites as a third, instead of "both".

      If you allow "soft" scientists, "social" types, to determine "truth", then there will be a number...

      which will then be debunked in short order, in order to add yet more.

  8. macjules Silver badge

    Do ZuckBots dream of electric sheep?

    The real Mark Zuckerberg is a prisoner in the Evil Island Laboratory of Larry Ellison where he spends his days fixing Oracle problems on Windows. The one you see is a synthetic: the unchanging hairline is a clear giveaway, along with the inability to say anything apart from "I do not wish to answer that question <beep>".

    Where is a decent Bladerunner when you need them?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Do ZuckBots dream of electric sheep?

      "Where is a decent Bladerunner when you need them?"

      The Sandman got 'em. Sadly, the kids are in charge now ...

  9. iron Silver badge

    > Facebook recently said it will hide ads bought by state-controlled media operations from US users.

    Oh that's nice, you can't fuck with the US elections but its ok to fuck with everyone else's elections.

    Zuck and his empire are an evil fucking cancer that should be removed from the internet for the good of humanity.

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    Money Talks

    the same language it ever has, and hot air walks.... jungle something... Upton or Axel?

  11. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Pirate

    The year is 2220. And a crowd of thousands cheers as the statue of Zuckerberg is pulled from its plinth and sent splashing into the harbour.

  12. Robert Grant Silver badge

    But Facebook remains committed to distributing political lies

    This is just awful journalism. Should it be censored if said on social media? No. Should someone paid to report facts say it? Also no.

  13. Blackjack Silver badge

    Is the ultimate race!

    Uber or Facebook who will end with worst rep this year?

  14. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I must express my opposition to this

    I _MUST_ express my opposition to this article, the tone of it, and what appears (to me) to reflect a "pandering to the perception" rather than something concrete and informative. Facebook is RIGHT to NOT CENSOR POLITICAL SPEECH. In fact, they should not censor ANY speech. Nor should they use one-sided "fact-checking" that really isn't, like Twitter has (allegedly) done. It isn't "gutless" to NOT censor. In fact, it is BRAVE to STAND UP for people's individual beliefs, and their ability to FREELY use a public platform to EXPRESS them. There may actually be existing U.S. laws that DEMAND this (NOT censoring speech they happen to disagree with, specifically).

    I am EXTREMELY disappointed that nobody else seems to be saying this. I hate to say it, but I actually AGREE with Zuck on this one aspect (or at least with what his position APPEARS to be). It may be reluctant, because he's probably saying "I do not want to lose the company's protected status with respect to liability" but STILL, it is the RIGHT position, In My Bombastic Opinion.

    1. chuckufarley

      Re: I must express my opposition to this

      Bob, I guess you still haven't gotten a new keyboard.

      Nor have you learned anything about how our rights are balanced by our responsibilities to our society and to our democracy. If corporations want the same rights we have they need to live up to the same responsibilities we do. Anything less is at best a double standard and at worst an authoritarian oligarchy in the making.

      If people refuse to acknowledge the limitations of their rights they forfeit those rights, as per many court decisions up to and including the Supreme Court.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: I must express my opposition to this

      It's not censorship, bob. Only a government can (try to) censor something.

      Our current idiot in chief has plenty of outlets to share his bullshit with his mewling sycophants should facebook decide they don't want the headache that goes along with allowing his speech. Being allowed to speak, just not here, is not censorship no matter how hard you squint at it.

      Same for you, bob! Your system, your rules. This IS still a free country, isn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must express my opposition to this

        it si not true that only the government can censor.

        Mobs and twitterati censor

        See 'Gone with wind' dropped from HBO

        or with the BBC:

        Gavin and Stacey/Little Britain/come fly with me/and question time (if it had Farage on it). Gavin and Stacey is the show Corbyn wrote (from SNL)

        Even the 'dont mention the war' episode of fawltey Towers!

        Or Netflix

        The mighty Boosh and the league of gentlement.

        all pulled or threatened to be pulled this month. Nevermind 300 year old statues! The might boosh and league were great!

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          "Even the 'dont mention the war' episode of fawltey Towers!"

          Yeah, mainly due to the repeated use of the N word in the original edit.

          C.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: I must express my opposition to this

          HBO can do what it likes, but it's hardly censorship when I can still easily get a copy of Gone With The Wind without the government getting mad at either me or the purveyor. (You can rent a copy on youtube as I type, without leaving your chair. Not very effective censorship, that.)

          Similar for all the other examples you have thoughtfully provided.

          The Fawlty Towers episode is freely available on youtube, in all its glory. N-word, moose head, Germans and all.

      2. EagleZ28

        Re: I must express my opposition to this

        Laws, in order to maintain a just society, must be applied equally to everyone, to the best of our ability.

        What happens if the telephone and internet companies, which are private companies, decide that YOU don't have the right to speak... not "here"?

        What happens if restaurants decide that "Jakes" can't eat here?

        Uh, yes, that actually IS illegal... and it's illegal because we had something very close to it before.

        It was wrong then, even in privately owned restaurants open "to the public", and it's still wrong.

        (Yes, in most places, owners/managers can refuse service to specific individuals, but not to "groups".)

        More specifically on this subject, meaning FB, whom I do NOT like...

        They ARE caught between a rock and a hard place...

        Either they censor/correct HIM... and become a PUBLISHER...

        or they censor NO ONE, and remain a "platform", which is what protects them from the

        slander/libel posted by users...

        And one more thing... free speech is one of the primary reasons that this IS still (mostly) a free country.

        Even for people we don't like with opinions we don't like... because if THEY don't have the right to say them, then WE don't have (or deserve) the right to speak OUR opinions which THEY don't like.

        For example, I'm sure that they would take exception to your calling them "mewling sycophants", just as HE would object to being called the "idiot in chief". Should you be banned for expressing your opinion of them in such deliberately insulting terms? Should The Reg be sued, and lose, for libel, or be forced to eject you? Should YOU be sued?

    3. Huw D Silver badge

      Re: I must express my opposition to this

      Oh dear, Bob. Poor old Bobbity-bob.

      Facebook HAS to censor speech. It has to in certain countries to meet the laws of those counties. Same thing as you can't buy Nazi memorabilia on ebay Germany.

      Please stop thinking that the world is America.

      1. EagleZ28

        Re: I must express my opposition to this

        FB only has to censor speech in some countries.

        FB is headquartered in USA.

        IN USA, if FB censors speech, they then face a SERIOUS risk of being legally defined as a publisher, AND therefore open to being sued for libel... and THAT would mean that they would HAVE to censor any derogatory/insulting speech about anyone BY anyone, which just MIGHT be false, in order to avoid being sued for libel.

        Just in practical terms, that would be an impossible task, so FB might as well "close the doors".

        This is the reason that the distinction (in USA) between "publishers" and "platforms" was created... to PROTECT free speech, while ALSO protecting the organizations, like FB, Twitter... EVERY comment section... including THIS one.

    4. jfm

      Re: I must express my opposition to this

      It may be reluctant, because he's probably saying "I do not want to lose the company's protected status with respect to liability"

      Are you misunderstanding §230 of the CDA? It was passed specifically to protect information services from liability in general for external content, AND to allow them to edit or censor some content without creating such liability for all content. Short of the law being changed, nothing Facebook do or don't do can create liability or remove the protection. (Obviously there are exceptions, eg for illegal content.)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. chuckufarley

    You can only...

    ...Choose one:

    A.) Truth and Justice for all

    B.) Facebook

  16. squidlips

    Zuck

    Zuck cares about one thing - money. I watched that doco a while back where they said Trump spent $1 million per day during his election campaign. Zuck is protecting a majorr customer. And throwing decency and morals under the train for a big pay day. Simples

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Zuck

      "Trump spent $1 million per day during his election campaign. "

      Really? That much? And he only just barely won. Proof that you can buy anything if you have enough cash to splash. At least this year should be cheaper for him. Now he can just blatantly use WH press briefings for free to get his campaign messages out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Zuck

        "Now he can just blatantly use WH press briefings for free to get his campaign messages out."

        He doesn't allow any press person who might ask an awkward question - or has upset him previously. Like any cult leader he prefers a channel that is directed only to his faithful - without any chance of criticism. In the UK PM Johnson is learning to use the same playbook.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Farcebook, How to destablize any government.

    Don't forget at least half of Zucks business is selling contact lists of people who would be susceptible to the slightest encouragement to take action on fringe nut case conspiracy theories to people like Putin who have a long history of using such people to destablize any government he chooses.

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