Facebook Inc.’s ban on political advertising in the U.S. will be lifted on Thursday, subsequently allowing its social networking sites for ads about politics, elections, and social issues for the first time in months.
In the week leading up to November’s general election, the company halted all new political ads in the U.S., and then in the weeks following the election; it stopped all political and social issue ads as then-President Donald Trump publicly fought the outcome. The social media giant allowed some political ads around a Senate runoff in Georgia in early January this year but blocked all political ads again on January 6.
“We put this temporary ban in place after the November 2020 election to avoid confusion or abuse following Election Day,” the company wrote in a blog post, according to Bloomberg.
Facebook has said political advertising is a small part of its overall business; as concern increased that candidates would try to use ads to mislead voters about the election process or results, the company took the step. Facebook’s policies have been controversial over the years, and it does not fact-check political ads.
“We plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited,” Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, said Wednesday.
The ban is scheduled to lift on a controversial day as it is the same day that a militia group is expected to try and storm the U.S. Capitol. According to a report by CatchNews, “the information provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned of increased chatter among extremists, including members of the Three Percenters extremist group, discussing possible plots against the Capitol on March 4.” Some conspiracy theorists have pegged the date as “true inauguration day.”
According to an official statement by the US Capitol Police, it had obtained intelligence of a “possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.”