The social platform wants to prevent political misinformation.
Social media platform Facebook announced today that on October 27, a week prior to the United States Presidential Election on November 3, they will no longer be accepting political ads from either party. Any ads that are submitted before the October 27 deadline will still be shown.
According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the reason behind this last-minute ban is to prevent misinformation from spreading on the platform and influence the elections.
“I believe our democracy is strong enough to withstand this challenge and deliver a free and fair election — even if it takes time for every vote to be counted,” Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post. “We’ve voted during global pandemics before. We can do this. But it’s going to take a concerted effort by all of us — political parties and candidates, election authorities, the media and social networks, and ultimately voters as well — to live up to our responsibilities.”
In addition to the ad ban, Facebook will also be monitoring for particular kinds of posts that may spread misinformation, intentionally or otherwise. Any ads or user-submitted posts that attempt to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a means of deterring people from voting will taken down. Posts with incitements of violence toward election officials will also be taken down. Posts with questionable information, such as questioning the legitimacy of the election’s results and voting methods or preemptively naming one candidate the victor, will remain up, but will be tagged with links to verified information sources.
These decisions are a departure for Zuckerberg, who has previously said that he refuses to ban political ads on Facebook and Instagram and that these ads are an important part of candidate outreach.