Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted and defended the network’s decision to not fact-check political ads due to their rights regarding free speech, claiming that Facebook is likely to only earn around half a billion from them in 2020.
Facebook has had no lack of controversies in the last several years. The company was accused of mishandling user data, privacy intrusions, and even for not fact-checking the campaigns whose ads they run on their platform. In the past, Zuckerberg responded to these claims several times, defending the company and providing explanations for each of them.
He particularly defended Facebook’s decision not to fact-check political ads, earlier this week. According to him, the decision was brought so that free speech on Facebook would not be jeopardized. However, the potential earnings from running such ads do not seem to play a big role in making this decision, according to Zuckerberg.
According to what he told the investors on an earnings call this Wednesday, the importance of political ads for the company’s bottom line is not that great. The company allegedly estimated that the ads of this type would bring below 0.5% of Facebook’s revenue in 2020. Zuckerberg also stressed that FTC’s fine — which critics claimed would change the company’s incentives — was around 10 times larger than what Facebook expects to earn from political ads next year.
Facebook’s estimation is that the year 2020 will bring around $84 billion in revenue, meaning that the money coming from political ads will be at around $420 million. While this is no small amount, it really is only a small portion of the company’s earnings. On the other hand, Zuckerberg claims that ads are an important part of the voice for political candidates and advocacy groups which the media fails to cover.
Meanwhile, while the company earned around $6.09 billion in Q3 2019, its revenue grew by 19% when compared to the same period in 2018. At the same time, its number of monthly users went up to 2.45 billion, which is an 8% increase from last year. Also, around 2.8 billion reportedly use one of the company’s services, be that Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp.
At the same time, the company is facing multiple government investigations for controversial behavior, while Zuckerberg himself once again had to face pointed questioning from Congress members in regards to Facebook’s future in the cryptocurrency sector.
What do you think about Facebook’s decision to not fact-check the ads? Do you agree with it, or do you expect that it will cause the spreading of misinformation? Let us know in the comments below.
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