Meta shifts away from politics ahead of 2024 US election

Meta’s recent pivot away from politics signals a significant change in how the company approaches political content on its platforms.

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In a significant shift ahead of the Trump-Biden rematch, Meta is distancing itself from politics after years of positioning as a key player in political discourse. The company has reduced the visibility of political content on Facebook and Instagram, imposed new rules on political advertisers, and downsized the team responsible for engaging with politicians and campaigns. The shift reshaped digital outreach strategies for the 2024 US election and could transform political communication on social media platforms.

Meta’s retreat from politics follows years of controversy and public scrutiny, including outrage over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race and the role of social media in the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol. The company’s efforts to minimise political content in users’ news feeds reflect a broader trend away from news and politics on social media platforms. This shift has impacted major news outlets, with significant declines in user engagement observed across platforms.

As Meta redefines its approach to political content, political campaigns adapt their strategies to navigate this new landscape. The Biden campaign has increased its social media presence to drive engagement, while Trump has turned to alternative platforms like Truth Social. However, both parties recognise the continued importance of Facebook as a vital tool for reaching voters despite the platform’s evolving restrictions on political advertising and content.

Why does it matter?

The changing dynamics of political communication on social media raise concerns about access to information and the role of tech companies in shaping public discourse. With political content increasingly marginalised on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, questions arise about how voters will stay informed about key issues during elections. As campaigns adjust to Meta’s evolving policies, the impact on democratic discourse and the dissemination of political information remains a topic of debate and scrutiny.