May 13, 2021


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Facebook lifts ban on US political advertising

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Facebook will lift the post-US election ban on political advertising to curb the spread of disinformation, and has pledged to investigate the need for a further overhaul of its political advertising systems.

Advertisers could resume running political ads on March 4, Facebook said in a blog post on Wednesday. He said he had introduced the temporary moratorium “to avoid confusion or abuse after election day”.

The social media company said it received “feedback” on its advertising system in the last election cycle, including its failure to distinguish between advertisements from politicians and political groups, and advertisements on social issues from citizens. advocacy groups, for example.

“As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads are performing on our service to see where further changes might be merited,” he said on Wednesday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long withstood pressure to verify the facts about political advertising, arguing that it is not in the interest of free speech and that private sector companies should not be “the arbiter of truth”.

However, the company reneged on this hard stance shortly before the November 3 vote amid pressure from critics and a proliferation of election misinformation, initially announcing that no new political ads could air in the week leading up to the November 3 vote. vote, plus a week. Blackout of political ads after the vote.

Facebook and Google, which have taken similar steps, later extended their bans as former US President Donald Trump stoked unrest after Joe Biden’s victory by repeatedly promoting conspiracy theories and unproven allegations of electoral fraud.

Facebook has been frustrated by the ban on some political groups, which complain they have not been able to raise funds or share messages.

Just hours before the Facebook announcement, two Democratic Party committees released a joint statement accusing the company of “refusing to commit to a clear date to end this misguided ban on political advertising.”

“This reckless and haphazard policy has made it difficult for campaigns and organizations to provide accurate information to voters and engage in good faith with voters, and in particular it prevents communities of color from fully participating in the democratic process.”

In December, Facebook temporarily lifted the ban on ads related to the Georgian Senate second round, although it has previously told critics that such an exclusion is not technically feasible. Google last week lifted its hiatus on political advertising for the second time, after reimposing it after January 6 Capitol riots.

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