- Facebook rejected about 3.3 million ads submitted during the 2020 presidential election, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
- The rejected ad count was disclosed in a 22-page document reportedly sent to officials close to President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.
- The company said this week it would allow political ads in Georgia from authorized advertisers, prioritizing the onboarding of new advertisers “with direct involvement in these elections.”
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Facebook rejected about 3.3 million ads submitted during the 2020 presidential election, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
The rejected ad count was disclosed in a 22-page document reportedly sent to staff of President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden. The document said the millions of denied ads were part of Facebook’s wider efforts to curb misinformation during the election. This included rejecting or removing about 265,000 posts, as had previously been reported.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook earlier this year announced it would pause most political advertising, citing concerns about election interference and misinformation. The social media company had been widely criticized for its handling of political advertising during the 2016 presidential contest.
This week, the company said it was lifting the pause in Georgia, where a contentious runoff election for two Senate seats is planned for January 5.
The company said it would only allow political ads in Georgia from authorized advertisers, prioritizing the onboarding of new advertisers “with direct involvement in these elections,” including the campaigns and national political parties.
“And, we will continue to prohibit any ad that includes content debunked by third-party fact-checkers or delegitimizes the Georgia runoff elections,” the company said in a statement on December 15.
Some in Congress have called for greater visibility into how Facebook, Twitter, and other social companies deal with misinformation campaigns, both in posts and ads.
Sen. Ted Cruz said on Twitter in October said Facebook and Twitter executives were “drunk on power.”
Even then, before most presidential votes were cast, he said Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, “must be held accountable for interfering in this election.”
Cruz and others have called for Congress to rethink Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says social media companies aren’t publishers, meaning they mostly aren’t responsible for content on their networks.
“The purpose [Section 230] served when these were nascent companies has long since passed, these are the most powerful companies on the face of the Earth and they feel zero accountability to any elected official. For all of us who care about free speech, that should worry us greatly,” said Cruz in a December 11 statement.
Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a press gathering she “didn’t like” Section 230, but repealing it altogether would harm small businesses.
“So, again, it needs to be revised,” she said. “I think there’s bipartisan support to do that.”
Reporter Kevin Shalvey worked at Facebook from 2018 to 2019.