Mark Hamill bashed Mark Zuckerberg for the Facebook refusal to fact check political ads, but television has done this by law since 1934.
Mark Hamill tweeted Sunday that he’s going to delete his Facebook. The announcement drew cheers from his fans. The Star Wars actor lashed out at Mark Zuckerberg, saying Facebook’s CEO “values profit more than truthfulness.”
He also tweeted a Malaysian flag emoji, an “is greater than sign,” and a money bag emoji. He corrected it to an “America is greater than money” emoji message in a reply tweet.
Hamill joins a number of notable politicians and entertainment celebrities in condemning or outright deleting Facebook. Hillary Clinton bashed Facebook in October for refusing to fact check political ads and censor those deemed false.
2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been on an absolute war path against Zuckerberg over Facebook’s hands-off policy.
Even before the policy became a publicity scandal for the social media giant, a number of celebrities had deleted Facebook for its role in the 2016 election.
That includes Cher, Will Ferrell, Rosie O’Donnell, Jim Carrey, and even Elon Musk, who said Tesla’s Facebook page, “Looks lame anyway.”
The media and anti-Facebook activists have spoken of Facebook’s ad policy like it’s something radical. Many, like Mark Hammil, have painted it as an existential threat to American democracy itself. But television stations have done this for decades.
A television news veteran with 30 years as a TV news director explains why:
If TV stations were allowed to censor political ads, it still would be extremely tough to determine what makes a political ad false. Without some guidelines, every political candidate would claim that every one of their opponents’ ads was filled with falsehoods while their own ads were beacons of truth.
In fact television stations aren’t allowed to fact check and remove political ads they deem false, by law. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would yank their licenses if they did. The Communications Act of 1934 doesn’t give television broadcasters any leeway to censor paid statements by political candidates.
So when FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said last week that Facebook, “has no idea how seriously it is hurting democracy,” she appeared to have no idea how democracy’s been working under FCC regulation by an act of Congress for nearly a century.
At least Hamill has the excuse that he’s just an actor, not an authority on U.S. policy. And can’t even tell the difference between the Malaysian and American flag in emoji form. It’s very odd that the media has completely overlooked how conventional Facebook’s political ad policy is. May the farce be with you.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:39 PM UTC