Facebook on Wednesday extended its suspension on political advertising in the U.S. — an extension that is likely to run into December — as President Trump has refused to concede the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden. Initially, Facebook said in October it would suspend political advertising for one week following Election Day.
“The temporary pause for ads about politics and social issues in the U.S. continues to be in place as part of our ongoing efforts to protect the election,” Facebook said in an update to its original blog post. “Advertisers can expect this to last another month, though there may be an opportunity to resume these ads sooner.”
No end date was specified in the blog post.
Facebook had previously said the suspension was put in place to block politicians from running ads claiming “premature victory.” The decision came as Facebook looked to beef up its efforts around the 2020 U.S. election, following heavy criticism after the 2016 election it didn’t do enough to weed out Russian trolls and election misinformation.
On multiple occasions, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he doesn’t want the company determining the veracity of political ads. “What I believe is that in a democracy it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own payments,” Zuckerberg told CBS last year. “And, you know, I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.” By suspending political ads, Facebook looked to “reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse,” as the company put it, without having to moderate the claims being made.
Politicians are still able to post on their Facebook accounts, but the company had been adding warning labels in the days after the election that votes were still being counted. Facebook also banned a pro-Trump group last week that claimed Biden was working to “steal” the 2020 election.
Google, according to the Financial Times, has also extended its blackout on U.S. political ads, although it didn’t say how long it would go on for.