A California political activist is running for governor of California in 2022 — not because he is particularly interested in winning, but because he wants to lie indiscriminately in Facebook political ads, according to CNN.
Adriel Hampton runs a marketing firm in San Francisco and registered for the California gubernatorial race on Monday as an act of protest against Facebook’s policy of not fact-checking ads by politicians or candidates for elected office.
“The genesis of this campaign is social media regulation and to ensure there is not an exemption in fact-checking specifically for politicians like Donald Trump who like to lie online,” Hampton said during a CNN interview.
An example of what Hampton is trying to do comes from The Really Online Lefty League, a PAC with which Hampton is treasurer. The organization ran an advertisement on Facebook last week that splices together audio from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to make it sound like he supports the Green New Deal.
The ad was taken down because it was from a PAC, not a politician, but now Hampton won’t be subject to those limitations.
Despite outcry from Facebook users and even Facebook employees, the social media company is not budging on its political ad policy.
“Facebook’s culture is built on openness so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic,” a Facebook statement said. “We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”
“In a democracy, people should decide what is credible, not tech companies,” said another Facebook statement, this one to the Associated Press. “That’s why — like other internet platforms and broadcasters — we don’t fact check ads from politicians.”
Hampton plans to run ads in the districts of vulnerable Republican candidates that claim those candidates are considering voting in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, saying “that’s how you would actually influence elections.”