A California man is running for the governor's office in that state so he can run false ads on Facebook. He says his intention is to stop the social network from allowing politicians to run ads on the site that contain falsehoods.
Since the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook has been trying to prove it's combatting misinformation on the site and thwarting election meddling from Russia, Iran and other countries. The social network has cracked down through a variety of means, including partnerships with fact-checking organizations and advertisements in newspapers.
But politicians' ads are exempt from fact-checking, and that's a policy Adriel Hampton objects to. The political activist, who runs his own marketing firm in San Francisco, registered on Monday as a candidate in California's 2022 gubernatorial election.
He said he intends to use his new status as a candidate so that he can run ads on Facebook that contain falsehoods about President Donald Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives.
"My immediate goal is getting Facebook to stop exempting politicians from fact-checking and repercussions for lying on the platform," said Hampton, who ran for Congress in 2009. "Equal treatment."
Hampton said that Facebook has the potential to be "very dangerous" in the hands of an abusive actor.
"I am particularly concerned with Facebook and other platforms that allow individual-level behavioral and ideological targeting," he said. "This is really, really powerful marketing, and elections require marketing."
Hampton is the treasurer of the political action committee The Really Online Lefty League, which posted an ad on Facebook last week that contained false information about Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
, which included a video that falsely claimed Graham had supported the Green New Deal, saying that while politicians are exempt from fact-checking, political groups aren't.
The decision to not fact-check politicians' ads has drawn criticism from Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former vice president Joe Biden. To illustrate her point, Warren took out an ad earlier this month that falsely claimed Facebook and Zuckerberg had endorsed the re-election of Trump. The social network left up the ad.
Zuckerberg defended Facebook's decision earlier this month, saying that by accepting political ads, Facebook was helping people hear the voices of politicians challenging incumbents. "From a business perspective, this controversy isn't worth the very small part of our business that this makes up, so this isn't about money," Zuckerberg said.
Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Originally published at 5:00 p.m. PT.
Updated at 7:20 p.m. PT: Added Hampton comments.