Facebook will temporarily halt all political ads on its platform after the polls close on election night in the U.S.
The company previously said new political ads had to be bought more than a week prior to the election, but did not specify the policy after polls closed.
Facebook said today that ads are an important tool for political expression, but they will halt these ads to “reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse” in the moments following what could be a contentious and drawn-out election, according to Guy Rosen, vp of integrity at Facebook. The ads will be halted at least a week, but is subject to change, Sarah Schiff, Facebook’s product manager for political ads said.
Google recently adopted a similar policy, temporarily barring new political ads from running on any of its platforms once the last polls close in the U.S. “given the likelihood of delayed election results this year,” Google spokesperson Charlotte Smith said in a statement at the time.
Facebook has continued to tinker with its election plans and political ads policies leading up to the November election. The company recently banned ads pushing QAnon conspiracy content, ads that delegitimize elections, and announced it would allow users to opt out of seeing political ads entirely.
Facebook’s changing stance on political ads has been met with criticism before over charges that the move could stifle get-out-the-vote efforts. Facebook has, however, heavily pushed voter registration efforts on its platforms, recently reporting that it has registered 2.5 million users.
Facebook also announced Wednesday that it will remove any calls in organic or paid posts for people to “engage in poll watching when those calls use militarized language” or intimidate voters or election officials. Existing posts that violate this rule however will not be retroactively removed, including a post in which Donald Trump Jr. asked users to join an election-security “army.”