Facebook will disable new political ads a week before the US midterm elections – TechCrunch

Meta vaguely outlined how he plans to prepare his platforms for the upcoming U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday, starting with political ads. In November, the nation will decide a number of key congressional and gubernatorial races amid worsening political polarization the social network has become synonymous with in recent years.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, detailed steps similar to steps the company had taken previously instead of offering many new ideas or areas for investment. This includes turning off new “political, election and social ads” in the week leading up to the Nov. 8 vote. Ads that ran before the blackout period may continue to run, but the company will opt out of most changes during this period, including any changes to who they target.

“Our rationale for this restriction period remains the same as in 2020: in the final days of an election, we recognize that there may not be enough time to challenge new claims made in advertisements. “, wrote the president of Meta Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, in a blog post. “This restriction period will be lifted the day after the election and we have no intention of extending it.”

Meta may not intend to extend his hiatus on political ads, but he could still end up improvising. Facebook suspended political ads on Nov. 4, 2020, but ended up extending that phase of the ban until next year, not making an exception until mid-December for campaigns around the runoff election in Georgia.

Meta also reiterated that it would not allow any postings or advertisements that misrepresent key details of the voting process, including the date, time and qualifications to vote. The company also notes that it will ban misinformation related to the “outcome of an election,” but its lackluster record of uneven enforcement by the “Stop the Steal” movement and the groups that staged the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol January 6 calls these measures into doubt.

On Facebook, accounts and groups promoting false claims that the election was “stolen” were able to post prolifically and even organize after the election, easily circumventing bans on a handful of words- relevant keys. The company did not announce more serious efforts to stop the spread of election misinformation until after the Jan. 6 attack.

The social media company was also keen to highlight its investments in election protection, noting that it has hundreds of people working on concerns about the 2022 election and has invested $5 billion in protection work. safety and security over the past year, although this total did not go towards election-specific work. The company did not mention that its dedicated election team, the Civic Integrity Unit, was disbanded and redistributed into its workforce after the 2020 election. Facebook cast the decision in a positive light at the time. , but some company employees and critics have raised concerns that election issues will be put on the back burner.

While Meta projects confidence in its political advertising precautions as we approach the 2022 U.S. midterms, it is already failing to apply those same security measures elsewhere in the world. A new report by human rights organization Global Witness has found that Facebook endorses paid posts that contain false information about Brazil’s upcoming elections, including ads promoting “the wrong election date, improper voting methods and questioning the integrity of the election – including Brazil’s electronic voting system”.

About Ricardo Schulte

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