02:42 GMT25 January 2021
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    Social media giant Facebook implemented a ban on political advertising ahead of the 2020 US election in an effort to further avoid misinformation or confusion from spreading, given that it was known that the COVID-19 pandemic would prompt a delay in results.

    Facebook announced in a Tuesday blog post that it will be partially lifting its recent ban on political advertisements, allowing campaigns and political parties to run digital ads targeting Georgia voters ahead of the state’s upcoming runoff elections. 

    The company indicated that clearance would only be given to advertisers who have completed its ad authorization process, and it will only allow ads that focus on the January 5 runoff elections that are set to determine whether Republicans or Democrats will gain control of the US Senate in the new congressional session.

    “We will reject ads that target locations outside of Georgia or that are not about the Georgia runoff elections for violating our Advertising Policies,” reads the advisory.

    The changes are due to take effect on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. 

    Facebook’s update did not include an explanation as to why it was partially lifting its ban, but the Tuesday notice did state the change was made after the company received “feedback from experts and advertisers across the political spectrum” about the importance of ads for the Georgia election specifically. 

    “At this time, we are maintaining the temporary pause for ads about social issues, elections or politics outside of Georgia as part of our ongoing efforts to protect the integrity of the election and reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse,” the update concludes. 

    It’s unclear when Facebook may lift the ban entirely. 

    Search engine company Google took similar steps in banning political ads in the aftermath of the 2020 election; however, the company lifted its five-week-long ban on December 9 after concluding that the post-election period was no longer a “sensitive event.”

    Facebook’s announcement comes one day after electors of the Electoral College cast their ballots and confirmed Democratic challenger Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. The US House of Representatives will affirm the win with a recount of the electoral ballots on January 6, 2021.


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