Social Media

Facebook will provide option to ‘turn off’ political advertisements

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 17, 2020

Facebook has given United States users an option to “turn off” all political advertisements on the platform from today. Facebook has long been in the controversy after its decision to pull out ad content and feature fact-check to moderate political ads last year, as per the Tech Crunch report.

The new feature now will give users control over what they see on their Facebook walls.

Facebook made the announcement on Tuesday in a blog post and an op-ed from Mark Zuckerberg. The post noted that the social media platform had announced its plan to feature the new option in January but would now add it to the platform as it prepares for the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The option will appear immediately for some users, while for others, it will be available within the next few weeks.

The option to disable political ads will apply to political, electoral, and social issue ads from candidates, Super PACs, and other groups. The option will pop up for users directly on any political ad across Facebook and Instagram or through either platform’s ad settings, Tech Crunch report added.

“By giving people a voice, registering and turning out voters, and preventing interference, I believe Facebook is supporting and strengthening our democracy in 2020 and beyond,” Zuckerberg wrote in USA Today.

He added: “And for those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you — so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads. We’ll still remind you to vote.”

Its post in January on the decision of moderating content also defended the company’s decision not to fact-check political ads or limit its extensive ad targeting tools.

Facebook also provided an instructional video that demonstrated the setting offers to show users “fewer ads about this topic” rather than disable them entirely.

It came a week after presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden wrote an open letter to the social media giant asking it to monitor content and fact-check information on its platform.

Facebook is also planning to take this feature beyond the U.S. in countries where we have enforcement on ads about social issues, elections and politics starting in the fall, it said.

Along the lines of such change, Facebook also announced a Voting Information Center. This virtual hub will provide information to U.S. voters on how to register to vote, request a mail-in or absentee ballot, any voting ID requirements, and when and where to vote.

As per the blog post, the information collected in the new U.S. voting hub will evolve as voters “move into different phases of the election,” like registration cutoffs, vote-by-mail ballot request deadlines, early voting periods and election day itself.

Facebook calls the effort “another line of defense” against election interference, Tech Crunch report stated.


Published on June 17, 2020

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