While Twitter, Tik Tok, LinkedIn and Pinterest have already banned political ads in as early as 2019, Facebook will follow suit only in the week prior to Nov.03. Actually, the FB ban pertains only to submissions of political ads during pre-election week, but will still run those that were submitted before October 27, 2020.
FB Political Restrictions Include Redirecting/Fact-Checking Political Ads
FB’s Mark Zuckerberg sees the narrow political ad restriction as a way of strengthening measures against political ads that will try to discourage people from voting in the November general elections. The restriction includes disallowing any candidate from posting claims of unconfirmed victories by redirecting FB users to accurate sources of information about vote counts, such as the National Election Post and Reuters.
The same measures will apply to campaigns aimed at discouraging voters to go out and vote by using COVID-19 as the main reason not to do so. In his FB post last Thursday, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said the site will redirect users to a source that provides authoritative information, as their way of blocking misleading ads related to the pandemic.
FB Political Ad Restrictions “Too Little, Too Late”
Critics are calling Facebook’s political restrictions and measures, “too little, too late.” While the ban applies only to political ads, FB users and private groups are free to post content carrying toxic messages and misleading information; including posts that allude to mail-in voting as fraudulent. As a measure and perhaps as a compromise, FB CEO Zuckerberg said the site will addimore information about mail-in voting.
Critics are saying that the ban on political ads in the week prior to election, will only leave the playing field open to right-wing FB users who follow Trump, Breitbart and Fox News. Mainly because their posts will not be considered as political ads. After all, Trump himself uses social media in sending out messages to his supporters. In fact, he has already suggested that he will continue to challenge the election results as rigged, if the outcomes do not turn out in his favor.