Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's powerful antitrust chief, on November 7 praised the micro-blogging site Twitter and criticized the social media giant Facebook for their different policies of running political ads. Twitter had banned political ads however, Facebook still continues to allow those ads to go 'unchecked' and stresses 'free speech'. Both the social media platforms have witnessed pressure from governments to prohibit ads with false information which can further affect the election results. Twitter will ban all governmental ads globally from this month. Vestager has also been granted additional powers by the EU to rein in the technology sector for the next five years.
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey had made a statement earlier that paying for targeted political messages on people can further bring about the significant risk to politics and can influence millions of people. However, Vestager believes that Dorsey's statement is not the end of the story, there are other issues like bots. The EU chief said that it is important to take a step forward because the company states its values. The bots which she mentioned in her speech referred to an automated application that can control an account on social media. While contradicting Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg's statements, Vestager said that democracy should take place in the open where the political ads should be fact-checked, contradicted, and then allowing a difference of opinions. She further says that if the information is exchanged only between Facebook and the individual and the people are micro-targeted, it does not remain democracy anymore instead it is, 'de facto manipulation of who you’re going to vote for'.
Facebook says it won't remove 'newsworthy' content that goes against its community standards. Zuckerberg has defended Facebook's refusal to take down content it considers newsworthy “even if it goes against our standards”. Technology companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter are all reportedly trying to be in charge of internet content but at the same time, they are also avoiding infringing on the First Amendment rights. This has swung recently toward restricting hateful speech that could spawn violence. The shift follows mass shootings in which the suspects have posted racist screeds online or otherwise expressed hateful views or streamed images of attacks. However, Zuckerberg has also compared the social media's capability to start a dialogue with the 'fourth estate' which is referred to as the media.