Facebook reportedly plans to ban political ads before this year’s U.S. elections. Bloomberg reported the news this afternoon, saying that the idea is being discussed internally, but is not yet a set policy. Sources also confirmed the discussion to The New York Times. The move would dramatically escalate Facebook’s current plans to prevent misinformation or interference in the 2020 elections.
There is not much detail about the policy, but based on it BloombergThe report said the power outages would be short – a matter of days before November election day. Facebook has previously granted users permission to disable political ads and added disclosure requirements, and is trying to provide reliable information with a voting hub. But it stopped banning the ads themselves, unlike its rival Twitter, which announced a political advertising ban last year.
Bloomberg writes that there is concern about hindering “get out the vote” efforts or limiting how a candidate might respond to the latest news.
However, a ban would also protect Facebook from bad publicity through inflammatory ads – such as a Trump ad that removed it because of Nazi imagery. For Facebook critics who claim that the site promotes polarization and manipulation, a temporary blackout can also be seen as a way to mitigate its effects in the run-up to the election.
Update 16:00 ET: Added confirmation of The New York Times.