Despite a growing trend of social media companies entering the fact-checking space, Facebook has disregarded calls to curb political speech that it deems to contain misinformation. However, recent reporting has indicated that Facebook may be rethinking its position, by imposing a ban on political advertisements. In doing so, Facebook hopes to thwart the spread of misinformation to address the concerns with the lack of fact-checking.
Nevertheless, any ban on political advertising by the tech giant would exclude one of the most prolific purchasers of political advertisements on its platform, dark money group, Courier Newsroom. That’s because Facebook considers Courier Newsroom, not a political organization, but rather as a “news” organization despite its spending and targeting patterns that more closely resemble those of Super PACs. Courier Newsroom was wholly-owned by liberal dark money group ACRONYM, which is run by Democrat operative Tara McGowan, most notable for creating the app that failed to pass muster in the 2020 Iowa Democratic Primary.
Disguised as a for-profit newsroom, Courier Newsroom aggressively engages voters with carefully crafted, tested messages which are turned into news stories intended to bolster Democrats in competitive congressional districts. Having spent over $1.4 million in Facebook advertising this election cycle, Courier Newsroom is deserving of any scrutiny given to traditional political organizations that advertise on Facebook’s platform. While the debate of whether or not political advertisements should be fact-checked by social media companies will rage on, one thing is for sure – as goes political advertising, so should go Courier Newsroom.