Facebook Will Now Allow Users In The US To Turn Off Political Ads

Facebook announced on Tuesday that users in the United States can now turn off political ads on the platform. Last year, Facebook declined to fact-check political ads, however, this new feature will provide users more control over what type of content appears on their newsfeeds.

In a blog post, Facebook made this announcement and an op-ed from Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook originally announced the new feature in January, but the company is adding it to the platform as Facebook prepares for the upcoming 2020 United States presidential election. The option will be immediately available for some users in the US, and it will be released broadly in the upcoming few weeks.

The new feature will apply to political, social issues, and electoral ads from candidates including Super PACs and various other groups. The option may pop up for some users directly on any political ad across the Instagram and Facebook apps. You can also find the option in the ad settings.

Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook is supporting democracy and the company will still remind those users to vote who use the new feature to turn off political ads. The January post indicated that Facebook will allow users to see fewer political ads. Facebook provided an instructional video, and in this video, the feature offers to display users ‘fewer ads related to the topic.’

Last week, Joe Biden, presumptive presidential nominee, called on Facebook to fact-check its political ads. The company also plans to make the new option available in other countries where Facebook has enforcement on political, electoral, and social issue ads. Facebook is implementing two ad transparency changes. The company has also announced a new Voting Information Center which will provide information to the voters on how they can register to vote, any voting ID requirements, and when and where to vote.

This info center will be modeled after the COVID-19 information center launched in March 2020 and will collect local alerts from officials. These local alerts may also note voting methods adjustments in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company states that these efforts are another line of defense against election interference. Facebook is making efforts to avoid a repeat of the social network’s role in amplifying the spread of misinformation in the 2016 US presidential election.

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