Facebook on Wednesday announced it would rescind a ban on political advertising, ending a pause that was implemented during the Nov. 3 election.
“We put this temporary ban in place after the November 2020 election to avoid confusion or abuse following Election Day,” the Silicon Valley-based company wrote in a blog post. But now, Facebook said, “We’re resuming political, electoral, and social issue ads in the United States on Thursday.”
In the run-up to the Georgia Senate runoff elections, Facebook partially lifted the ad ban.
“Unlike other platforms, we require authorization and transparency not just for political and electoral ads, but also for social issue ads, and our systems do not distinguish between these categories,” according to the company. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle. As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.”
The statement came on the same day that the Democratic Party’s House and Senate campaign organizations called on Facebook to end the ad ban.
“This reckless and haphazard policy has made it harder for campaigns and organizations that do provide accurate information to voters and engage with them in good faith, and it hinders communities of color in particular from fully participating in the democratic process,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) said in a statement on Wednesday.
Previously, Facebook said that political ad campaigns are a small part of its overall revenue.
Google lifted its ad ban on Dec. 10 and allowed campaigns to run ads around the Georgia Senate election in January.
Facebook has received criticism from Republicans in recent months for what they have said is the unfair targeting of conservatives, adding that the company is attempting to police speech while unfairly banning conservative accounts and viewpoints. Democrats, meanwhile, have accused Facebook of allowing alleged misinformation to be posted about the election and COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with The Epoch Times over the weekend, Ryan Hartwig, who has been described as a Facebook whistleblower, said that he “saw that Facebook gave exceptions to, essentially, silence conservatives.” Facebook has stated its platform doesn’t favor one political viewpoint over another.
“One example of bias that I found was Don Lemon, the CNN anchor. He said on air that white men are terror threats. And so Facebook gave us guidance as content partners and said, ‘We know this violates our hate speech policy, but we’re making a newsworthy exception,’” he added.
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