During this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Facebook is increasingly trying to work with governments to determine what political speech it does and does not allow. Oh sorry, I mean: what kind of political ads it is willing to approve.
In the particular example Zuckerberg cited, in 2018, American pro-life groups wanted to run advertisements for Facebook users in Ireland. This is because the Irish were about to vote in a referendum on whether abortion should be legalized.
When Facebook saw the ad requests, the company contacted the Irish government asking whether this should or should not be allowed. “Their response at the time was, ‘we don’t currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make.”
In other words, Facebook could do as it pleased. There was no legal reason to disallow the ads. But what did Facebook do? You guessed it:
We ended up not allowing the ads.