Meta to allow political ads questioning 2020 US election outcome

Other social media platforms, such as YouTube and X (formerly Twitter), have also adjusted their handling of election-related content.

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has updated its policy to allow political ads on its platforms that question the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election. While Meta will allow political advertisements that claim past elections were rigged, it will prohibit ads that cast doubt on ongoing or upcoming elections.

Meta states that this decision aligns with its approach to the 2022 mid-term elections, during which it prohibited ads in certain countries that discouraged voting or questioned election legitimacy. The company previously indicated that it would not remove posts from political candidates or regular users making claims of voter fraud or election rigging. However, Meta’s electoral misinformation policy still bans content interfering with voting or census participation.

Previously, Meta has announced that it will require political advertisers to disclose their use of third-party AI software for political advertising.

Why does it matter?

This move marks a departure from the previous content moderation policies aimed at preventing election misinformation. Meta’s policy change allows the company to profit from political ads that spread false claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Pressure on tech companies to combat election misinformation has escalated since the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, which was fueled by baseless claims about election fraud. Meta clarified that it would not penalize Trump for attacking the election results but would prevent him from casting doubt on future elections. X also recently lifted its ban on political ads.