Democratic Ad Firm Accused of Fake News Retools for 2020
A digital advertising company that came under intense scrutiny last year for its deceptive political ads on social media is gearing up to get involved in some crucial 2020 battleground states. But it’s retooling its approach to avoid the backlash that befell it in 2018.
MotiveAI, a Denver-based startup with backing from billionaire LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman, has built a new social media-based news agency called Versa, and it’s already dipping its toes into key 2020 U.S. Senate races.
That involvement caught the eye of a nonprofit ethics group, which alleged deceptive ad practices, and Facebook, which has tried to add layers of transparency to political ads like the ones MotiveAI backed last cycle. The firm insists that its tactics have changed and Versa says it is aiming to be upfront and trusted this go around. But while MotiveAI says its work this cycle will be purely nonpartisan, it’s also weighing in on some high-profile elections, providing yet another illustration of how digital politicking can often intersect with straightforward political news.
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