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Facebook will halt political ads...after the polls close

Keeping the gang together for one last hurrah.

By Aimee Pearcy , written on October 7, 2020

From The News Desk

For the past few weeks, Facebook has been seriously struggling to get the balance right between raking in advertising dollars, and not warping the outcome of the entire 2020 U.S. election. 

Yesterday, Facebook banned QAnon. Now, it has just announced that it will ban political ads in the U.S. after the polls close on November 3 in an attempt to prevent "misinformation"It will keep adverts halted for an "indefinite" period. 

I guess there's no point in closing the barn door until the horse has already bolted right?

Facebook has told advertisers that the ban should last for about a week, but this is subject to change.

It will also ban calls from users to visit polling places to intimidate voters -- a process known as "poll watching" -- following Trump's call for supporters to "go into the polls and watch very carefully" for potential issues.

Groups have previously argued that Facebook has not acted quickly enough to tackle misinformation and abuse on its platform --and this ban seems like the epitome of that. I've written previously about why Facebook ads aren't the root of Facebook's misinformation problem when compared to the hundreds of thousands of fake organic posts and underground conspiracy theory groups being spewed out into peoples' newsfeeds -- but irregardless, this ban seems like another weak attempt to show that Facebook's actually doing something. 

Previously, Facebook has announced that it will prevent new political ads from running seven days before the election, and that it will block any ads that seek to delegitimise the election results.

It's still lagging far behind platforms such as Twitter and TikTok, which have banned political adverts altogether.

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