Facebook has said it will not run new candidate political ads a week before the November election but it will allow them purchased before then even if they contain lies.  The company said reporters and others will have time to vet earlier ads but will not have space to handle new content.  The decision was based on free speech.  It’s a tenuous directive but might stand in a court.  Facebook is concerned about First Amendment rights, but doesn’t want to be seen as a publisher.  Increasingly, public opinion sees the internet giants as subject to the same law as The New York Times and Washington Post. They are publishers in fact if not in name.  The law has not caught up with the internet, but there are rumblings in Congress.  If so, internet giants will be held to what appears on their sites and lawsuits will follow.  It’s a difficult PR position to be in and will be even harder if politicians twist facts and make spurious charges.  Still, Zuckerberg should be credited for trying even if it is a half-measure.

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