AAPC today issued the following statement in response to Facebook considering a political ad blackout prior to the November election.
The American Association of Political Consultants urges Facebook, in the strongest terms, not to change ad policies with regard to political advertising for the 2020 elections. Facebook is an especially important platform in the weeks just before Election Day, when millions of voters will be weighing whether and how to vote during a pandemic.
Facebook has become a major source of news and information for voters and now has a responsibility to Democracy. Thousands of state and local campaigns rely on the platform to make their case for election in a clear and affordable manner. While presidential campaigns gather most of the headlines, they have the financial resources to reach voters through other means. The reality is that there are over half a million non-federal races from the state house to the local school board that rely on open and honest communications to tell their story. Without ads directly from campaigns, Facebook will cede their valuable platform to rogue actors and misinformation.
All AAPC members sign and agree to abide by our Code of Ethics which includes these two points:
- I will use no appeal to voters which is based on racism, sexism, religious intolerance or any form of unlawful discrimination and will condemn those who use such practices. In turn, I will work for equal voting rights and privileges for all citizens.
- I will refrain from false or misleading attacks on an opponent or member of his or her family and will do everything in my power to prevent others from using such tactics.
Instead of stifling the speech of legitimate campaigns and candidates we urge Facebook to use the resources necessary to shut down illegitimate bad actors who seek to disrupt our electoral systems. We stand ready to work with Facebook to develop strong policies to uncover and stop misinformation while protecting free speech for campaigns.