Facebook, Google to extend political advertising bans

Facebook and Google are set to extend their bans on political advertising longer than expected as President Trump and his allies continue to delegitimize his loss.

Facebook notified advertisers Tuesday that they should expect the pause “to last another month, though there may be an opportunity to resume these ads sooner.”

Google has told advertisers that the ban is unlikely to be lifted this month or next, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Both platforms had initially said that the bans would likely last a week after the election but had cautioned they could extend longer.

The bans were instituted to avoid misinformation or confusion from spreading via ads given that the coronavirus pandemic would make election results take longer than usual.

Facebook does not fact-check political ads, and experts worried the Trump campaign would have used that loophole to declare itself the winner or sow more doubts about results.

The extension of the ad bans may pose problems for the four candidates heading to Senate runoffs in Georgia this January.

Democrats have said that the ad ban is already costing the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in their races against incumbent Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively.

“There is no replacing missed high-leverage moments in online fundraising. And ads are a HUGE part of that. Every day @Facebook and @Google wait to turn ads back on they cost @ReverendWarnock a huge number of donations AND volunteers,” Tim Tagaris, former digital fundraising director for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted Monday. “A big gift to self-funding Kelly Loeffler.”

When asked about whether an exception might be made for ads about the Georgia runoffs, a Facebook spokesperson said the ban “applies to all ads about politics and social issues in the US and we aren’t able to provide a specific end date for this temporary pause.”

Google did not immediately respond to inquiries for this story.

Facebook ads product manager Rob Leathern said in a Twitter thread Wednesday evening that “we know that people are disappointed that we can’t immediately enable ads for runoff elections in Georgia and elsewhere.

However, “We do not have the technical ability in the short term to enable political ads by state or by advertiser,” he added.

Updated at 5:26 p.m.

Tags Advertising ban Bernie Sanders Big tech David Perdue Donald Trump Facebook Georgia georgia runoff Google Kelly Loeffler misinformation political advertising Social media
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