Georgia is currently the only state in the United States that allows Facebook to place political ads, but the situation will change after the polls on Tuesday are closed.
According to the Facebook website detailing the changes in its advertising policy and the story of Axios, the company will no longer allow ads on political and social issues anywhere in the United States (including Georgia) from tomorrow.
Facebook told TechCrunch that the decision to shut down political advertising in Georgia again aligns the state with its current “national pause” on social issues, elections, and political advertising.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to say when the use of political ads will be allowed again, or whether they are considering permanently banning them from the platform.
The company suspended these advertising categories for the first time on November 4 to prevent misinformation from appearing in the US presidential election. On December 16, the company banned political ads in Georgia and invited eager campaigns to pay to display their information in front of Facebook users.
It seems that some politicians, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), despite being restricted, broke through Facebook’s Georgia loopholes to raise funds for themselves.
According to the latest report from The Markup, when political ads flooded into Georgians, they eliminated mainstream news sources. Although the result is quite intuitive, it does highlight the huge impact of political information in the Facebook information ecosystem.
Many politicians and political groups may be eager to return to Facebook to raise funds. The company’s decision to remain suspended indicates that the company is still evaluating whether it wants to deal with political advertising in the future.
However, given the lengthy process of calculating election results in November plagued by misinformation, Facebook may also be waiting for the storm to pass.
It’s also worth mentioning that Rob Leathern, the head of Facebook’s advertising integrity, left the company at the end of December, saying that his team’s work in the 2020 U.S. election was “a huge effort over the past few years.”
Leathern helped the company formulate policies on political advertising. These decisions are often controversial because paid misinformation swept the entire platform throughout 2020.
Because they will determine control of the Senate, the unusual pair of runoff races in the state that has just turned blue are high-risk for both parties.
With the Democratic Senate, the Biden administration’s ambitious plans for COVID relief and the climate crisis will become easier to achieve. And for Republicans wanting to block the policy focus of the elected president, the extended control of the Senate will make a powerful barrier to Biden’s way.