Jessica Goodfellow
Nov 19, 2019

Snapchat fact-checks political ads, says CEO

Co-founder Evan Spiegel weighs in on debate over accountability of social networks when it comes to political advertising.

Snapchat fact-checks political ads, says CEO

Snap co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel has said the platform fact-checks all political advertising that runs on its platform, laying bare the contrast in approaches between different social networks.

The business has a team dedicated to fact-checking political ads that run on photo-sharing app Snapchat, Spiegel revealed in an interview with CNBC.

“We subject all advertising to review, including political advertising,” he said. “And I think what we try to do is create a place for political ads on our platform, especially because we reach so many young people and first-time voters we want them to be able to engage with the political conversation, but we don’t allow things like misinformation to appear in that advertising.”

Snap’s policy puts it in the middle of its two social media rivals Facebook and Twitter, which have taken opposing approaches to political advertising. Facebook has said it will not fact-check political advertising — a move that has drawn intense criticism — while last month Twitter revealed it would ban political advertising altogether. Twitter detailed the guidelines for how this would be enforced on Friday (15 November).

However, Twitter and Snapchat’s political advertising businesses are significantly smaller than that of Facebook's. Twitter only brought in US$3 million with political ads throughout the 2018 midterm season. According to Open Secrets, the 2020 Democratic candidates have only spent around $200,000 on Snapchat. Facebook estimated that political ads will represent less than 0.5% of its revenue next year, which going off its revenue in the 12 months ending Q3 2019, could equate to around $330 million to $400 million in political ads.

Google, which owns YouTube, has not yet made a public statement on the matter.

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