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November 8, 2019 11:05 pm

Mozilla Hits Google, Facebook For 'Microtargeting' Political Ads

Mozilla is calling on Google and Facebook to stop "microtargeting" political ads. "Political speech is critical to democratic discourse, but against the very real circumstances of organized disinformation and organic misinformation today, microtargeting keeps ideas from being debated in the open, and fiction parades as fact," Ashley Boyd, Mozilla's advocacy vice president, said in a statement. "Online platforms can take the important step toward quelling the manipulation by limiting political ads to a scale where they facilitate a public discourse." The Hill reports: Microtargeting, a method which uses consumer data and demographics to narrowly segment audiences, is used by political campaigns to specialize ads for different voting groups. The practice's critics include Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, who wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that microtargeting makes it "easy to single out susceptible groups and direct political misinformation to them with little accountability, because the public at large never sees the ad." Mozilla's call follows reports that Facebook has considered restricting politicians' access to microtargeting.

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