Last week, Mark Zuckerberg gave a long speech defending his decision to allow political ads on Facebook — and to not ban politicians from lying in those ads.
On Monday, Zuckerberg ended up repeating many of the lines he used in last week’s speech. But the context was different: Zuckerberg was hosting a press conference that was supposed to be about Facebook’s “elections preparedness.”
But journalists weren’t done scrutinizing Zuckerberg’s political ads policies. Over and over, they had questions about how the policy was supposed to work, what would happen if politicians try to abuse it, and why he was doing it in the first place.
Zuckerberg took 13 questions during his press conference. Seven of them were about political ads.
So: If Zuckerberg or his advisers thought they had laid the issue to rest last week, they got new data today. Among reporters, at least, Facebook’s “don’t lie on Facebook unless you’re a politician running an ad” policy is not settled.
Zuckerberg seems to think this is old news, as he expressed with a very slight tinge of annoyance today: “I think a lot of people took the — this update that we made, as if it was some kind of big departure from our existing policy. This is actually meant to clarify the way we’ve been operating for some time now,” he said on the call. That didn’t stop the questions.
It is possible that the issue will indeed go away sooner than later. Because the press, like everyone else, has a short attention span.