Facebook on Tuesday told advertisers it would allow them to run political ads targeting voters in Georgia ahead of the state’s January runoff elections, according to multiple reports. Georgia-focused political ads will be given the green light starting at 9:00 a.m. PT on Wednesday, per Axios.
The decision comes as Facebook is continuing to enforce a broader ban on political ads, implemented heading into last month’s election, barring advertisers from touching on social issues and elections, according to The Wall Street Journal. Allowing political ads in Georgia looks to be an exception to its own rule that’s still in place, although Facebook did not give advertisers an explanation for why it’s amending its political ad blackout, Axios reported. Facebook’s blackout initially was set to run for one week following Election Day, but the company later extended the ad ban on Nov. 11.
Starting Wednesday, advertisers will be able to target Georgia-based users, weeks before the state is set to decide its two Senate seats. Early voting for the seats started on Monday. The runoff elections are critical because they will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Facebook’s decision on Tuesday, according to Axios, was based in part on discussions with “experts and advertisers” who explained how important Facebook’s ad tools are to political campaigns.
The same report said Facebook will prioritize advertisers with “direct involvement” in the Georgia elections, including the campaigns and other state and local officials.
Google, which also put in place its own political ad ban around the same time as Facebook, ended its blackout a few days ago.