US actor Mark Hamill (pictured December 2019) said he decided to delete his Facebook account because he was so "disappointed" with the social media giant Photo: AFP/File
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Mark Hamill quits Facebook over dishonest political ads

11 Comments
By VALERIE MACON

Mark Hamill, the actor famous for legendary "Star Wars" film character Luke Skywalker, has quit Facebook for its refusal to require political ads to be honest.

"So disappointed that #MarkZuckerberg values profit more than truthfulness that I've decided to delete my Facebook account," Hamill tweeted. "I know this is a big 'Who Cares?' for the world at large, but I'll sleep better at night. #PatriotismOverProfits."

Hamill's message triggered a flood of replies, with many lauding his decision to use his celebrity platform to make a statement about honesty in politics.

"Facebook, pay attention. You’ve lost the man who played Luke Skywalker," one fan commented.

"The only thing worse than that is maybe Santa Claus telling you to feck off. Might be time to rethink things."

In contrast, another tweet questioned whether it was Facebook's place to censor politicians or their ads, and suggested instead putting notice labels on demonstrably false messages.

"Giving up Facebook doesn't solve the problem," the Twitter user replied to Hamill. "Fake news is everywhere. What happens next? Give up the internet?"

Facebook this month enacted a new ban on posts or ads that interfere with people taking part in the U.S. census, which will have an online participation option this year.

The census interference policy forbids deception about when or how to take part in the U.S. census, or the significance of participating, according to the California-based internet titan.

Facebook, criticized for its hands-off policy on misleading comments from politicians, said it would not allow political actors to post false information about the census, in a policy similar to theirs on "voter interference."

Online platforms face the challenge of stopping an avalanche of disinformation while remaining open to political debate and free speech.

Google recently placed restrictions on how advertisers can target specific groups of voters, while clarifying its policy by indicating it does not allow "false claims" in advertising, political or otherwise.

Twitter has banned most kinds of political ads to steer clear of checking the veracity of claims by politicians, but some analysts say the ban ends up helping incumbents and well-financed candidates.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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To the dark side, Facebook has fallen. Return, it might not.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Luke has given in to anger, hatred and fear.

Very disappointed.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Leftists want Facebook to censor Trump ads because they still can’t admit the real reasons they lost in 2016.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Some posters here seem to think that honesty in advertising is a bad thing. I can't see any explicit political bias in what Mark Hamill said, so I guess those posters are just assuming that it's their version of Fake News that would be threatened.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

May Facebook be not with you..

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Welcome to the club, Mark!

To the dark side, Facebook has fallen. Return, it might not.

Spoken like a true Yoda!

May Facebook be not with you..

That's Be with you may Facebook not be. But close enough!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some posters here seem to think that honesty in advertising is a bad thing.

Nobody thinks that. But many people still believe in free speech, and the way to ensure dishonesty is to have some version of Big Brother in charge of deciding what is and isn't honest, and what can and can't be published. The founding fathers never said "free speech, as long as it is approved."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But many people still believe in free speech, and the way to ensure dishonesty is to have some version of Big Brother in charge of deciding what is and isn't honest, and what can and can't be published.

Yep, fair point, I agree with you. But what that means in practice, though, is that the onus is on political advertisers to ensure that their messages are free of lies, misrepresentations, and outright BS. I'm not sure they can, or want to, do that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But what that means in practice, though, is that the onus is on political advertisers to ensure that their messages are free of lies, misrepresentations, and outright BS. I'm not sure they can, or want to, do that.

Well, sure. In 1000s of years of politics, the truth has never been a priority. There is nothing new under the sun, except the silly name "fake news." There will never be a magic agency or board of judges who can be relied on tell us what the truth is.

People just need to be smarter. Unfortunately, all evidence suggests that we are getting dumber as a whole.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is nothing new under the sun, except the silly name "fake news."

A term popularised by the current President of the United States, a man who has successfully perverted the definition of 'fake news' from its literal meaning of 'that which is not true' to the self-serving 'that which I do not agree with, and which does not agree with me'.

There will never be a magic agency or board of judges who can be relied on tell us what the truth is.

And there has never been an agency like Facebook, or its idiot sibling Twitter, which has had the power to extend the reach of the messages purveyed by liars and BS artists out to every corner of the globe where a person can afford a phone and an internet connection. And therein lies the problem.

People just need to be smarter. Unfortunately, all evidence suggests that we are getting dumber as a whole.

Brother, you can say that again. And as I remember when it all started, this was supposed to be the Age of Information.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just need a way to financially punish those that spread fake news in a fair and just way. So long as it's not in their financial interest to do so, then they will naturally find the way to avoid it. But til then endless excuse will come.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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