November 17, 2023
Meta will allow political ads on its platforms to question the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election—part of a rollback in election-related content moderation among major social media platforms over the past year ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential contest, reports CNN.
The policy means that Meta—the parent company of Facebook and Instagram—will be able to directly profit from political ads that boost false claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election. While the company will allow political advertisements to claim that past elections, including the 2020 presidential race, were rigged, it will prohibit those that “call into question the legitimacy of an upcoming or ongoing election.”
Meta says the policy allowing 2020 election denialism in political ads was part of an August 2022 announcement about its approach to last year’s midterm elections, when the company said it would prohibit ads targeting users in the United States, Brazil, Israel, and Italy that discourage people from voting, call into question the legitimacy of an upcoming or ongoing election, or prematurely claim an election victory.
That same month, Meta told The Washington Post that it would not remove posts from political candidates or regular users that claim voter fraud or that the 2020 election was rigged.
Meta’s broader electoral misinformation policy continues to prohibit content that could interfere with people’s ability to participate in voting or the census, such as false claims about the timing of an election, according to the company.
“We wish we could say we were surprised Meta is choosing to profit off of election denialism, but it seems to be a feature of theirs, not a bug,” TJ Ducklo, a representative for the Biden campaign, told CNN in a statement about Meta’s ad policy. “They amplified the lies behind the ‘stop the steal’ movement. Now they’re coming for its cash. Joe Biden won the election in 2020 clearly, unequivocally, and fairly—no matter what Meta choose to promote.”
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Biden campaign’s statement.
Seprately, Meta said earlier this month that it would require political advertisers around the world to disclose any use of artificial intelligence in their ads, starting next year, as part of a broader move to limit “deepfakes” and other digitally altered misleading content.
The company also said it would prohibit political advertisers from using the its new artificial intelligence tools, which help brands generate text, backgrounds, and other marketing content.
Research contact: @CNN