by Peter Hasson and Joe Simonson
Facebook’s recent policy changes requiring proof of identity to purchase political ads is unfair to Latino immigrants, several progressive groups claimed Thursday.
Facebook began requiring users to submit a government-issued ID and mailing address before purchasing any political ads in April as part of the company’s efforts to combat foreign meddling in American politics.
A coalition of progressive political groups asked Facebook in May to reverse the ID requirement but claim the company has been unresponsive. The activists said Thursday they will “step up efforts to continue shaming Facebook until the policy is amended” in a press release.
“Facebook’s one-size-fits-all policy for so-called ‘political advertising’ has effectively shut millions of voices out of the democratic process and public discourse on the most populous and influential social media platform,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, in the release. “The social media giant must face the fact immigrants and other communities are not the enemy.”
“Facebook already has a horrible reputation of compromising its users’ sensitive information, and its new ad policies would force users to give up even more personal information — blocking many Latinx people from fully engaging in the democratic process via Facebook’s platform,” said Matt Nelson, executive director of left-wing Latino group Presente.
“This is a reckless attempt to divert attention from the company’s fundamental security crisis. If Facebook continues down this cowardly, anti-social, dangerous path it will lose the trust of thousands of its employees and millions of consumers,” said Nelson.
A Facebook spokesman defended the policy to The Daily Caller News Foundation and pointed to the identification requirement as in part a response to past election meddling by foreign adversaries.
“The advertiser authorization process is designed to help ensure people know who’s behind the political ads they see on Facebook. We are listening to feedback from many groups for which this policy presents challenges,” the spokesman said.
“Facebook’s constantly evolving ad buying policies discriminate against immigrants based on their citizenship status, effectively silencing organizations that are led by already marginalized people. We demand that they rethink their processes and stop targeting immigrants.”
“After finally recognizing the severe negative impact their lack of transparency and data privacy has had on the United States, Facebook has responded by making it much harder for advocates of vulnerable communities to get our message across,” said Isabel Sousa, the organizing director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
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