With 10 days to go until the 2020 General Election votes are all cast, is it back to photos of felines and favorite foods on your Facebook feed?
Maybe. The Facebook political ad blackout begins Oct. 29. Announced in September, the blackout means no new political ads for candidates or issues will be accepted through the Nov. 3 election. Those already running can keep running, and campaigns can shift the targeting of those ads.
After the election, another Facebook political blackout picks up where this one ends. Facebook said it is trying to keep candidates from somehow using it platform to create havoc after the polls close and before the results are certified. The company’s leadership has expressed special concern about Republicans like supporters of Donald J. Trump and Russians, as the type of online misinformation and interference the company is watching.
To prevent misinformation, company will prohibit all political and issue-based advertising for an indefinite period during the days following the election. And after Nov. 3, every Facebook user will see a notification that no winner has been decided until victors are declared by news outlets Reuters and Associated Press.
“We’re going to block new political and issue ads during the final week of the campaign. It’s important that campaigns can run get out the vote campaigns, and I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims. So in the week before the election, we won’t accept new political or issue ads. Advertisers will be able to continue running ads they started running before the final week and adjust the targeting for those ads, but those ads will already be published transparently in our Ads Library so anyone, including fact-checkers and journalists, can scrutinize them,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.
The company is also acting to remove remove any group, page or Instagram account that openly identified with QAnon, (an online movement that is generally pro-Trump and believes there is a deep state manipulating the government, and global sex trafficking rings involving powerful men and women, such as the late Jeffrey Epstein and now-jailed Ghislaine Maxwell.)
Zuckerberg said, “given that this election will include large amounts of early voting, we’re extending that period to begin now and continue through the election until we have a clear result. We’ve already consulted with state election officials on whether certain voting claims are accurate.”
Twitter banned political ads a year ago and Google plans to ban all political and issue ads after Election Day, without saying how long that ban will be in effect.