We believe that suppression of political advertising reduces the ability of voters to learn about the candidates and policy issues that matter to them. Suppressing advertising is suppressing free speech and a campaign’s ability to reach a broad community online.
Facebook is choosing to gag legitimate, fully disclosed campaign and policy advertising, while doing little to crack down on anonymous accounts devoted to spreading inflammatory and false information.
While voters may be tired of the long presidential race, they may not even know that their school district is planning a bond measure, the city council is considering cuts to library hours, or a tax increase will be on the ballot. With the decline of local journalism, voters may never hear the arguments from both sides if they opt out. Small, local campaigns with budgets of only a few thousand dollars are the ones that will be hurt the most when voters mute campaigns, thinking only of the presidential race noise. Muting campaign advertising impinges on the kind of dialogue most needed, and keeps voters separated in their own bubbles, listening to themselves.
This decision undermines free speech. We urge Facebook to reverse this ill-conceived decision and ensure full access to their platform for all legitimate campaigns and all points of view.