Facebook will ban political advertising again in Georgia on Wednesday after the state runoff election, according to a blog post on Tuesday.
Last month, Facebook lifted its temporary ban on U.S. political advertising in Georgia as the state prepares for a runoff election that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Elections were held on Tuesday.
Both Facebook and Alphabets Google Pause political statements after the November 3 presidential election as part of a campaign to combat misinformation and other abuses.
Democrats and election experts have criticized the bans, saying they were overly blunt and hampered legitimate voter registration efforts in Georgia. The resumption of advertising in mid-December brought other headaches, which opened up the social media platform to allegations that it had not adequately implemented its own policies.
Shortly after Facebook lifted the ban, American Crossroads, the Republican top PAC, began advertising what Democratic candidate Rafael Warnock called “God damn America.” Facebook’s fact-checking partners found that Warnock quoted the phrase and did not use it to express his own feelings.
Facebook removed the ads, but in the following weeks American Crossroads failed to repost the same ads on several occasions, only to have them removed after the newspaper reported through Popular Information.
In all, Facebook has removed 80 percent of the group’s 63 ads since December, according to a Reuters survey conducted using the company’s ad library.
Jack Pandol, communications director of American Crossroads, said Tuesday that most of the ads removed by Facebook were effectively the same, with different versions of the “God damn America” lawsuit.
“Facebook disagreed with us about the two messages we ran on that platform, and now we have ads that are just as tough as the ones they don’t agree with,” he said.
The reposting prompted Facebook’s advertising integrity chief Rob Leathern to ask in an insider company post – initially reported by Popular Information and Reuters independently confirmed that Facebook was “attempting to penalize American crossroads” for “repeating the same content by doing the same thing over and over again.” “
As of Tuesday, American Crossroads ads were on Facebook, along with other claims by Fact-Checkers about Warnock.
Facebook declined to comment on whether any penalties were applied to the American Crossroads account. Leathern left the company last week.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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