Facebook gears up to lose money on political ads

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Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

One of the more striking assertions made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Tuesday's annual Off the Record conference in Menlo Park, California, is that the social network is gearing up to lose money on political advertising. (Off the Record is actually on the record and was hosted this year by The Information, Quartz and BuzzFeed.) Recode's Peter Kafka writes that,

Facebook is spending so much money hiring moderators to review political ads that it will cancel out the revenue those ads generate in this year's election cycle, says CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "We're essentially going to be losing money on running political ads," because the company is hiring "thousands" in advance of the 2018 elections, Zuckerberg said. ... "That cost is going to be greater than the money that we make."

Read Kafka's full (brief) post for details on what Zuckerberg thinks the cost of the ad-vetting will be and how he anticipates that AI will gradually take over for many of those thousands of human ad-vetters.

See also: another take on what the Facebook CEO had to say at Off the Record: "Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Talks Trust and the Future of the News Industry," via Time's Samuel P. Jacobs

+ "Mark Zuckerberg Doesn't Understand Journalism," by The Atlantic's Adrienne LaFrance

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