Pinterest Won’t Run Ads Next to Election-Related Content

It's one of many changes for the platform ahead of the November elections

Pinterest will show a new pop-up to users who search for election information. Pinterest
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Ahead of the U.S. elections this November, Pinterest is making some changes to boost civic engagement on its platform and tightening its policies on political ads.

The company will not run ads against election-related search terms to “help ensure there’s a lower risk of ads appearing next to content that’s not inspiring (and therefore less effective),” a Pinterest spokesperson told Adweek.

Pinterest has doubled down on its commitment not to get bogged down with politics. The inspiration-sharing site was early to the movement to ban political ads from social media, kicking them off the platform in 2018. LinkedIn, TikTok and, perhaps most notably, Twitter have taken the same step in the last two years.

Under pressure to fact-check political ads, Facebook recently introduced a feature to allow users to opt out of political ads and, earlier this morning, announced it will not sell new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day.

Pinterest will also feature more “ educational resources” about voting on its Today tab, the platform’s curated content hub that debuted in March. However, the company won’t promote political content in its algorithmic suggestions on the home feed, related Pins or the More Ideas panel.

“Our users don’t come to Pinterest for divisive political debate, [and] we’re not looking to become a go-to destination for that,” the spokesperson added.

The company will also cease search recommendations—including search autocomplete and search guides—for election-related terms. Instead, any election-related searches on the platform—about voting, the election or specific candidates—will elicit a banner of voting information provided by the nonprofit 

Pinterest first outlined its misinformation policy related to voting and the election in January to include “false or misleading content that impedes an election’s integrity or an individual’s or group’s civic participation, including registering to vote, voting and being counted in a census,” but expanded it today to encompass:

  • False or misleading information about the dates, times, locations and procedure for voting or census participation  
  • Content that misleads voters about how to correctly fill out and submit a ballot or census form
  • False or misleading information about who can vote or participate in the census and what information must be provided to participate
  • False or misleading statements about who is collecting information and/or how it will be used
  • False or misleading information about public safety that is intended to deter people from exercising their right to vote or participate in a census
  • Content that encourages or instructs voters or participants to misrepresent themselves or illegally participate
  • Content apparently intended to delegitimize election results on the basis of false or misleading claims
  • Threats against voting locations, census or voting personnel, voters or census participants, including intimidation of vulnerable or protected group voters or participants.

Like the new election banner, Pinterest previously introduced a census banner for any searches related to the 2020 U.S. Census.

The company is also extending its encouragement of civic participation to employees by offering them a full work day of paid time off to vote or serve as a poll worker.

“Even if Pinterest isn’t the place for politics, we believe voting is the foundation of our democracy,” the company said in a blog post today, “and we want Pinterest to be a place where people know they can find credible information that inspires them to participate fully in their communities.”

@ScottNover Scott Nover is a platforms reporter at Adweek, covering social media companies and their influence.