Facebook to restart political ad ban after Georgia Senate runoffs

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Facebook will clamp down on political ads again on Wednesday, after temporarily lifting part of its self-imposed ban for the Senate runoffs in Georgia, where Tuesday is Election Day.

In a statement released to its blog, Facebook said that it will no longer allow candidates or groups to run ads about the Georgia runoff elections, and the company did not indicate when it might lift the broader ban on political ads on its platform. Instead, Facebook urged political clients to post "organic" content to its site, which previously banned political ads since the November election as part of the company’s efforts to fight misinformation.

Advertisers in Georgia have been able to get their messages out during the early voting period and in the run-up to Tuesday’s vote. But political strategists in both parties noted that Facebook’s re-implementation of its ban will prevent campaigns from airing digital ads about a potential recount or a "ballot curing" process (the process of contacting voters who are missing information on their absentee ballots to provide that information before a post-election deadline).

Given how close Georgia was in the November election, both scenarios could potentially be important in deciding the Senate races.

"Advertisers who were previously allowed to run ads about the Georgia runoff elections will have their active ads paused and will no longer be allowed to create new ads about social issues, elections, or politics," Facebook representatives wrote to political clients in a message sent Tuesday afternoon, which was obtained by POLITICO.

Google, which also instituted its own ad ban, lifted it in its entirety in December.

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