Adriel Hampton plans to run false commercials in protest at policy of letting politicians lie
A California man has registered as a candidate for state governor purely to run false commercials on Facebook, as a protest against the social networks policy to allow political misinformation in paid advertising.
Adriel Hampton, a San Francisco resident, has already hit the headlines for his protests against Facebooks misinformation policy, after a political action committee (Pac) he set up ran an advert falsely claiming that the Republican senator Lindsey Graham supported the Green New Deal.
Hamptons Pac, the Really Online Lefty League, ran the advert last week, but within a day, Facebook had stopped distribution of the claim. While the company exempts political candidates and parties from fact checks, it still bans misinformation from other political actors, including Pacs.
Hence Hamptons registration, on Monday, as a candidate for the California governorship. The genesis of this campaign is social media regulation and to ensure there is not an exemption in factchecking specifically for politicians like Donald Trump who like to lie online, he told CNN, who first reported his entry into the race. I think social media is incredibly powerful. I believe that Facebook has the power to shift elections.
Facebooks policies allowing political candidates to lie are longstanding. The companys relationship with third-party factcheckers bans them from using Facebooks tools to factcheck candidates and parties, since a false finding would serve to hide their content, something Facebook has said it is uncomfortable doing. But the company changed its rules about misinformation more generally in August, adding new powers for third-party factcheckers to remove adverts that contained false statements.
That change, combined with the continued exemption for political candidates, meant that the company explicitly allowed lies in political adverts for the first time, kicking off a furore that only intensified when the presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren waded in, accusing Mark Zuckerberg of helping Trump.
This week, more than 250 employees signed a letter to Zuckerberg decrying the new rules, saying Facebook was on track to undo the great strides [its] product teams have made in integrity over the last two years.
Hampton has run for public office before. In 2009, he announced his candidacy for Californias 10th district becoming the first person to announce a congressional campaign on Twitter. He came 12th.