The Wall Street Journal: Trump ally Thiel has advised Facebook’s Zuckerberg not to bar or vet political ads

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Facebook Inc.’s senior leadership is increasingly divided over how to address criticism of the company’s effect on U.S. politics, with board member and billionaire investor Peter Thiel serving as an influential voice advising CEO Mark Zuckerberg not to bow to public pressure, according to people familiar with the matter.

One flashpoint of late: political advertisements. Thiel has argued that Facebook should stick to its controversial decision, announced in September, to continue accepting them and to not fact-check those from politicians, the people said. However, some directors and executives are pushing for changes to the policy, including possibly banning political ads altogether, they said.

Bloomberg News

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and a noted Silicon Valley early-stage investor, pauses while speaking during a 2016 news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Zuckerberg and other Facebook FB, -0.06% executives have said publicly that the company continues to consider potential changes related to political ads.

Market Extra (July 2019): Trump says ally and tech investor Thiel ‘believes Google should be investigated for treason’

“Many of the decisions we’re making at Facebook come with difficult trade-offs and we’re approaching them with careful rigor at all levels of the company, from the board of directors down,” a Facebook spokesman said. “We’re fortunate to have a board with diverse experiences and perspectives so we can ensure debate that reflects a cross section of views.”

Thiel declined to comment.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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