Facebook will turn off all political advertising in the US after the runoff in Georgia – TechCrunch
Georgia is currently the only state in the US where Facebook allows political ads to run, but that will change after the election on Tuesday.
According to Facebook’s website, which lists changes to its advertising policies and a history of Axios, the company will no longer allow political and social ads anywhere in the country, including Georgia, starting tomorrow.
Facebook told TechCrunch that the decision to turn off political advertising in Georgia reconciles that state with its current “statewide hiatus” in social, election and political advertising. A Facebook spokesman did not want to say when political advertising will be allowed again or whether a permanent ban from the platform is being considered.
As a precautionary measure to reduce misinformation in the US presidential election, the company took its first hiatus in these ad categories on November 4th. On December 16, the company once again allowed political advertising in Georgia and eagerly encouraged campaigns to pay to get their messages across to Facebook users. It appears that some politicians, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have jumped into Facebook’s Georgia loophole to raise money for themselves despite restrictions.
When Georgians began receiving political ads again, they loudly supplanted mainstream news sources new coverage from The Markup. While this result is fairly intuitive, it underscores the overwhelming influence of targeted political advertising in Facebook’s information ecosystem.
Many politicians and political groups are likely to be eager to raise funds on Facebook again. The company’s decision to keep the hiatus suggests it is still evaluating how – and perhaps if – it wants to deal with political advertising in the future. But Facebook could also wait for the storm to pass, given the misinformation that tormented the lengthy process of calculating November election results.
It’s also worth noting that Rob Leathern, head of advertising integrity at Facebook, left the company in late December, describing his team’s work on the 2020 US election as the “culmination of tremendous efforts over several years.” Leathern helped shape the company’s policies around political advertising – decisions that were often controversial due to the spread of paid misinformation that flooded the platform throughout 2020.
As they will rule over control of the Senate, the unusual pair of runoffs in a state that has just turned blue is at stake for both political parties. With a Democratic Senate, the Biden government’s ambitious plans for things like COVID relief and the climate crisis will have a much better chance of becoming a reality. And for Republicans who want to block the president-elect’s political priorities, increased control of the Senate would put Biden in the way.