Facebook has decided to lift its ban on political ads in the state after weeks of complaining from the left with early voting already underway in the Georgia runoff elections.
The social media giant gave in and unfroze political ads in Georgia beginning on Dec. 16 after numerous complaints that democratic candidates for the Senate runoff elections in Georgia would not be able to get their messages across to voters.
“In recent weeks we’ve heard feedback from experts and advertisers across the political spectrum about the importance of expressing voice and using our tools to reach voters ahead of Georgia’s runoff elections,” said Facebook in a Dec. 15 blog post.
For the time being, political ads will only be targeted at Georgia residents. “We will reject ads that target locations outside of Georgia or that are not about the elections for violating our Advertising Policies. And, we will continue to prohibit any ad that includes content debunked by third-party fact-checkers or delegitimizes the Georgia runoff elections,” said Facebook’s blog post.
And while Facebook has changed its tune, it appears to have done so only after the left whined that continuing the ad ban could hurt the chances of Democratic challengers in the state from helping the Democratic Party take control of the senate.
“Organic disinformation is the actual problem on these platforms, and continuing to ban ads is now actively harmful to organizations working to inform Georgia’s diverse voters about the January runoffs. These ad bans are voter suppression plain and simple, they directly benefit Republican senators, and at a minimum there should be an exemption for ads in Georgia over the next two months,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Scott Fairchild said in a statement.
“With early in-person voting already underway for the runoffs, Facebook’s decision to finally lift its harmful ban on political ads in Georgia is long overdue,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Stewart Boss said in a statement to The Washington Post. “These online platforms must focus on rooting out the spread of organic disinformation about our elections, and banning ads is the opposite of a solution.”
Facebook has banned all political ads since October 27, fearing that “in the final days of an election, there may not be enough time to contest new claims,” said the platform’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a September Facebook post. Google also banned political ads after election day, but announced on Dec. 9 that it would lift its ban entirely.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted: “About time @facebook lifted its ban on political ads. Disappointed this move will only be temporary. The fact remains that #BigTech poses a significant threat to our democracy. Congress must continue working to hold them accountable.”
Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) will face Rev. Raphael Warnock on January 5, and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) will face Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
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