Tech

Mark Zuckerberg: I thought about banning political ads from Facebook, but decided not to

Key Points
  • Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said he has considered banning political ads from Facebook but chose not to.
  • "Political ads can be an important part of voice, especially for local candidates, up and coming challengers and advocacy groups that the media might not otherwise cover," Zuckerberg said.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks to meetings for technology regulations and social media issues in Washington on September 19, 2019.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said he has considered banning political ads from Facebook but chose not to.

"Given the sensitivity around political ads, I've considered whether we should stop allowing them altogether," Zuckerberg said in a speech delivered at Georgetown University. "From a business perspective the controversy is not worth the very small part of the business that they make up."

Zuckerberg said that there are issues with political ads no matter how Facebook handles the matter.

"I believe that when its not absolutely clear what to do, we should err on the side of greater expression," Zuckerberg said.

One problem with banning political ads is that it is not clear where Facebook would have to draw the line, Zuckerberg said.

"There are many more ads about issues than there ads about elections. Do we ban ads about healthcare, immigration or women's empowerment?" he said. "If you're not going to ban those, does it really make sense to give everyone else a voice in political debates except for the candidates themselves?"

Zuckerberg's comments come shortly after Facebook came under fire for allowing politicians to include false information in ads run on the social network. Notably, President Donald Trump ran an ad on Facebook that included false information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Facebook was then called out for this in a political ad containing false information that was posted on Facebook by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

Although Facebook won't do it, Chinese-owned rival TikTok said earlier this month that it does ban political ads.

"We will not allow paid ads that promote or oppose a candidate, current leader, political party or group or issue at the federal, state or local level -- including election-related ads, advocacy ads or issue ads," Blake Chandlee, TikTok vice president of global business solutions and a former Facebook executive, told TechCrunch.

The speech at Georgetown is the third time this month that Zuckerberg has spoken publicly. Last week, Zuckerberg spoke about his thoughts on brain computing and Facebook's recent acquisition of CTRL-Labs. The week prior, Zuckerberg live streamed a Q&A session with his employees where he spoke about a variety of topics.

Zuckerberg will appear on Fox's Daily Briefing with Dana Perino on Friday, and he will testify before Congress on Facebook's libra cryptocurrency next week.

WATCH: Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off

VIDEO1:1001:10
Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off