Facebook reinstates Elizabeth Warren campaign ads calling for break-up of Facebook

Social media giant says it removed ads because they used its logo and had restored them 'in the interest of allowing robust debate'.

Ben Chapman
Tuesday 12 March 2019 16:44
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Facebook reinstated three campaign adverts by Elizabeth Warren calling for the break up of big technology firms on Tuesday after temporarily taking them down.

The Democratic senator and 2020 US presidential candidate said Facebook’s actions had proved the point made in her adverts: that the social media giant’s power must be curtailed.

"Curious why I think FB has too much power?" Ms Warren tweeted.

"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."

Facebook said it had removed Ms Warren’s campaign adverts calling for Facebook to be broken up because they broke the platform’s ad rules. Spokesperson Andy Stone said the ads "violated our policies against use of our corporate logo."

"In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads," Mr Stone said in a statement.

Ms Warren wrote that companies turning over $25bn or more should not be able to own a public online marketplace or platform that they also sell on.

She also promised to take steps to unwind "anti-competitive mergers" including Facebook's acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram.

"Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google," one of Ms Warren's ads read.

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"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."

Pressure is ramping up on a number of fronts for the world’s largest technology companies who are accused of allowing their platforms to spread disinformation, propaganda and hate speech, as well as damaging competition.

This week Rupert Murdoch's News Corp called for Google to be broken up to end its “overwhelming” market power and safeguard the world’s news media.

The news organisation’s Australian arm demanded an enforced break-up of Google which dominates the online search and advertising businesses.

In an 80-page submission to the Australian government, News Corp, which has itself faced allegations of monopolistic behaviour, said Google’s search engine and third-party advertising platform should be separated to allow publishers to compete for ad revenues.

Publishers have seen revenues decline sharply in recent years, forcing many to axe staff or shut down altogether.

Facebook and Google now hoover up more than 60 per cent of all internet ad spending; a proportion that is expected to continue to grow.

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