Thursday 8 October 2020 12:25 pm

Facebook issues temporary ban on political ads after US election

Facebook will stop running political ads in the US after polls close on 3 November in a bid to prevent “confusion or abuse” in the aftermath of the presidential election.

The social media giant said the temporary ban marked its efforts to “protect the integrity of the election by fighting foreign interference, misinformation and voter suppression”.

Read more: Big tech faces break-up as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google accused of ‘monopoly power’

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has come under fire for refusing to fact check political adverts that appear on the platform.

However, his company has softened its approach in recent weeks, rolling out a ban on ads that seek to “delegitimise” the results of the election.

This includes false claims that mail-in voting led to fraud, which were spread on social media by US President Donald Trump.

Facebook has also said it will stop accepting new political ads a week before the election in an effort to prevent last-minute misinformation.

The Silicon Valley tech giant also said it was cracking down on calls for coordinated interference or intimidation using weapons at polling stations.

“We will also remove calls for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarised language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, wrote in a blog post.

The new measures mark a shift in tone for Facebook, which has previously resisted calls for greater regulation of advertising on its platform.

Read more: Facebook removes Trump post claiming flu is more deadly than Covid-19

But senator Elizabeth Warren hit out at the social media firm, accusing it of making “performative changes to try to avoid blame for misinformation on its platform”.

“The problem isn’t the ads themselves. The problem is Facebook’s refusal to regulate its ads, change its broken algorithm, or take responsibility for the power it’s amassed,” she wrote in a tweet.

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