Facebook: Microtargeting of users allows advertisers to target tiny groups of people. File photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty


Facebook should not be the “truth police for the entire world”, a senior company executive has told an international parliamentary hearing in Dublin into the threat posed by fake news .

The company’s head of global policy management and counterterrorism, Monika Bickert, defended its decision not to ban political advertising as Twitter has done in the past week.

The company, she told an international committee into fake news and disinformation involving members of 12 parliaments, believes it is impossible to prevent the spread of false information and baseless claims.

The day-long hearings in the Seanad, chaired by Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton, are examining how countries can deal with interference in democracies by non-State players.

It is also examining how this can be done without preventing minority, human rights and pro-democracy groups in non-democratic countries from spreading their message.

Ms Bickert was one of a number of senior technology company executives appearing before the committee.

However, she was the one to face almost all of the questions from politicians, who argue that Facebook has done little to stop false information spreading under the guise of freedom of expression.



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