Google & Facebook Extend Political Ad Bans: Here’s Why

With senate run-off elections set to be held in January, Google and Facebook have opted to extend their bans on political advertising.

Facebook and Google have decided to extend their bans on political ads. Facebook announced on November 11th that its ban on political ads would be extended for another month for the sake of protecting the election. Google has taken similar action, saying the ban would be unlikely to lift in November or December, according to the Wall Street Journal. During such an unprecedented election that involves intense conflict over politics and the role of the media, the two companies are attempting to lessen the flow of misinformation.

Facebook and Google’s bans went into place ahead of the election. Facebook had announced that they would not run ads on social issues or electoral and political issues. As Facebook owns Instagram, the ban naturally extended to the photo-sharing site, as well as to all other Facebook-owned sites. Initially, they expected the ban to last a week, but admitted it could stay in place longer. To ensure accurate election information, they decided to direct users to The Voter Information Center, which details the process of ballot counting. 

Related: How Facebook Plans To Protect Groups From Misinformation

Since it went into effect, the ban has included ads that make voter fraud claims and those with premature claims of victory. But, while the presidential race has now been called, congressional seats are still to be filled. The extended ban comes as a pair of senate run-off races are set to happen in Georgia on January 5th. The races in Georgia will most likely determine which party will have control in the senate when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January. Therefore, the sites have deemed it important to keep biased advertising from influencing the election. 

The Importance Of Facebook, Google & Others

Facebook app election measures

Facebook and Google’s ad bans serve as a reminder about the power of digital information. People turn to social media to get news about major events, but it’s all too easy for misinformation to be spread on social platforms. Since claims of widespread voter fraud and claims of victory by President Trump have swept the web, social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook are tasked with reining in these false claims and keeping them from impacting the election.

With the isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly crucial for social media platforms to provide people with truthful information. As conspiracy groups and misinformation appear on Google and social media, it becomes harder for people to get accurate information. Sites like Google and Facebook are now attempting to live up to their responsibility as top sources for news. With the legitimacy of mail-in ballots being questioned (and potentially dis-empowering voters) and false claims from candidates arising, Google and Facebook see that there is a need for advertisers to be temporarily held at bay while the remainder of the race is decided.

More: Google & Youtube To Reportedly Block Political Ads After Polls Close

Source: FacebookWall Street Journal

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Updated: November 13, 2020 — 1:52 pm

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