Facebook to ban certain political ads before elections

Meta, Facebook's parent company, announced that it will restrict certain political ads in the United States, Israel, Brazil and Italy.

People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.  (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)
People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

Meta, Facebook's parent company, announced that it will ban certain political ads in the United States, Israel, Brazil and Italy.

Ads that will "discourage people from voting in an election" will be banned, including ads that will "portray voting as useless/meaningless and/or advise people not to vote".

likewise, ads that "call into question the legitimacy of an upcoming or ongoing election" will be banned, as well as ads that will declare "premature claims of election victory."

This decision is most likely referencing the 2020 US elections when former US President Donald J. Trump prematurely claimed victory. Brazil's President Jair Bolsanero might try a similar tactic if he should lose in the Brazilian presidential elections, as he himself said he might not recognize the results.

The new initiative by Facebook would also ban anti-voting ads targeting minority groups. Meaning that a campaign to discourage Arab voters from voting in Israel would be banned.

 Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta is seen on smartpone in front of displayed logo of Facebook, Messenger, Intagram, Whatsapp and Oculus in this illustration picture taken October 28, 2021 (credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS ILLUSTRATION) Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta is seen on smartpone in front of displayed logo of Facebook, Messenger, Intagram, Whatsapp and Oculus in this illustration picture taken October 28, 2021 (credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS ILLUSTRATION)

Specific restriction period for the United States

Additionally, Meta has announced a "restriction period for ads about social issues, elections or politics in the United States."

In the week prior to the midterms, Advertisers will not be able to run new ads on those topics in the United States, but will be able to continue existing campaigns, with "limited editing capabilities."

These steps are part of Meta's effort to combat allegations of foreign influence and the spread of misinformation on Facebook.

Among the options that will be barred from use are editing creative aspects, changing the objective for a campaign and changing the ad set level.