SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook said on Wednesday that it planned to lift the ban on political advertising on its network, resuming a form of digital propaganda that has been criticized for misinformation, lies and inciting voters.
The social network said it would allow advertisers to buy new ads about “social issues, elections or politics”, a copy of an email sent to political advertisers on Thursday and seen by the New York Times. Those advertisers must complete a series of identities before they are authorized to place advertisements, the company said.
“We imposed this temporary ban after the November 2020 election to avoid confusion or misuse on Election Day,” Facebook said in a statement. blog post. “We have heard a lot of feedback about this and have learned more about political and electoral advertisements during this election cycle. As a result, we plan to use the coming months to see how these ads work in our service, to see how further changes can be merged. “
Political advertisements on Facebook have been facing questions for a long time. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he wants to keep a considerable hand on speech on the site – including political advertising – as long as it does not cause immediate harm to the public or individuals. To say that he “does not want to be” a mediator of truth. “
But after the 2016 presidential election, company and intelligence officials found that Russians used Facebook ads to sow discontent among Americans. Former President Donald J. Trump Facebook also used political advertisements Raising claims about an “invasion” of the Mexican border in 2019, among other incidents.
Facebook banned political ads in November last year to combat misinformation and threats of violence. In September, the company said It planned to stop new political advertisements Will act swiftly for the week before Election Day and against posts that tried to drive people away from voting. Then in October, Facebook Expanded that action By announcing that all political and issue-based advertising will be banned after the vote closes on November 3 for an undetermined length.
In December, the company Ban lifted To allow some advertisers Run political issues and candidacy ads in Georgia For the January by-election in the state. But the ban otherwise remained in effect for the remaining 49 states.
This is a developing story and will be updated.