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Facebook scores relatively poorly for political advertising

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  • During Wednesday’s Senate hearing on Section 230, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the company was making a “relatively small” amount of political advertising.
  • Both Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have long claimed that political ads account for less than 1% of the company’s total revenue.
  • Since May 2018, almost 11 million ads on political, electoral or social topics have been placed on the platform, which corresponds to an advertising expenditure of 2.2 billion US dollars.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company earned a “relatively small” amount of money from political advertising, an aspect of its business that it claims has had sales of $ 2.2 billion since May 2018.

The comment was made during a virtual Senate hearing on Wednesday, an event slated for lawmakers to grill executives at Google, Facebook, and Twitter about Section 230 and the protections offered to tech companies. The hearing takes place just days before the election, a decision that has drawn the ire of those who say the closeness to a presidential contest is too close.

Facebook has announced that it will accept political ads, even if they contain lies, in order to enable free expression on its platform. However, critics have long said that the company’s lucrative political advertising business has adversely affected the spread of misinformation and political elections such as the 2016 US presidential election, as advertisers are able to serve misleading ads with impunity.

From January to October 2020, ad purchases for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump were $ 93 million and $ 89.3 million, respectively, according to Facebook.

Continue reading: Facebook’s advertising ban has now come into effect before election day. Democratic activists call it “a public relations gag” that doesn’t stop disinformation but could hurt low-polling candidates.

Trump campaign ads have already been removed for violating company policy – last week the company removed 48 “Your vote was not counted” ads for violating voter interference policy. On Tuesday, Facebook removed a series of Trump ads saying “Vote Today!” and “Election day is today!” for violating its guidelines.

The company put in place a political advertising ban ahead of the election, preventing candidates from running new ads in the week leading up to the election. It also announced that it would block all political ads indefinitely after November 3rd, and in late September it said it would ban ads that declare victory ahead of time. The guidelines have resulted in advertisers creating ads that are approved in Facebook’s advertising library and promoted at a later date.

Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have claimed their political ads account for less than 1% of the company’s total sales. Sandberg told Bloomberg in late 2019 that his money on political advertising “is not worth the controversy.”

“We’re not doing it for the money,” she told the outlet.

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