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Live Mic: Would you turn off political ads on Facebook?

This Oct. 25, 2019 file photo shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking at the Paley Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

SALT LAKE CITY — Facebook has introduced the option of turning off political ads.

In an op-ed in USA TODAY, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it’s a way to end the election early.

“And for those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you — so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Listeners’ reactions

Lee Lonsberry asked his Live Mic listeners to give their reaction, via voicemail, to the move by Facebook and Instagram.

“I would love it. That would be great,” one man said. “I would also like to be able to shut off any advertising that they do that follows my purchasing because I usually have made the purchase waaaay before the ads come out.”

Being in the news-gathering business, Lee said he wasn’t yet sure about turning off the political ads on his Facebook page. 

“I kinda need those ads flowing through my Facebook newsfeed just to get a sense of what the different candidates are pushing — what message they like to communicate,” Lee said.

He said if he had a different job and wasn’t responsible for being tuned into the politics of the day, he’s not sure whether he would leave them on.

A woman listener asked why any political campaign would buy advertising that could be switched off by the target audience.

“Why can’t we do that with radio stations or TV stations?” she asked.

“I guess they’re banking on many individuals not knowing that it [turning off the political ads] is an option,” Lee replied.

Another voicemail Lee aired came from a man who said he is glad Facebook is not deciding on what stays and what goes on the platform.

You are the censor, not Facebook

“Who decides what is false information? . . . I don’t think Facebook is a good discerner of truth,” the caller said. “I think that is something that we as individuals need to able to look at and decide . . . People need to have that opportunity and not some censorship from Facebook or somebody else,” he said.

“100 percent. Absolutely. I could not have said it any better,” Lee replied. 

Lee said the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution come with a cost for all Americans.

“We bear the responsibility of casting well-thought-out votes,” Lee said. “It’s more than a privilege. It’s a burden and responsibility and we must take it seriously. We must, for our own selves, discern what is right and wrong.”

 

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.