Protesters gather outside Facebook's headquarters over political ad policy

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Activists boarded a bus in San Francisco Thursday afternoon, headed for Facebook's headquarters on the Peninsula.

Their beef? How the social media giant doesn't want to police political ads for accuracy.

It's an issue that was the focus of hearings in Washington last year after allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Facebook, along with Google, is expected to get the lion's share of a projected $1.6 billion in online political ads.

But who's going to monitor if those ads are factually false or misleading? Not Facebook.

That's why a protest movement has been launched.

Thursday's protest was the first of many that organizers have pledged will happen.

They've collected over 23,000 signatures on an online petition in a single day, demanding that Facebook prevent misinformation from being spread.

"We shouldn't have to be worrying about the integrity of our democracy, and we are, and in large part, it's because of this huge social media company in our back yard," said protester Andrea Buffa. "Facebook is actually facilitating bad actors putting out disinformation, putting out divisiveness that can actually jeopardize our election."

In a statement, Facebook makes its position clear.

"People should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public."

The chair of the Republican Party in Santa Clara County Shane Patrick Connolly said he doesn't want Facebook employees to determine what voters will see in ads.

"These activists cannot be trusted to take an even-handed approach in judging the accuracy of political hyperbole," said Connolly.

It's not just political ads in the crosshairs. So are videos such as the one in which House Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared to be slurring her words, a video that had been manipulated.

The employees of Facebook have already spoken up. The public is speaking up, and we're going to keep up the pressure until they do something," said Facebook user Ted Lewis.
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