A total blackout on political ads for the upcoming US presidential election is being anticipated from Facebook

A ban might be placed on all political advertisements in the days before the most competitive election according to the report published by Bloomberg recently. However, it is still not finalized as Facebook has not announced the official decision yet.

The company has not yet published or confirmed how long the time frame of the ban would be. The company spokespersons also did not immediately respond to the questions about the span and timeline of the ban by the reporters of Business Insider when they asked about it.

Facebook also has been facing hard criticism over its position on political advertisements. This criticism has intensified as the presidential election approaches. Even some of Facebook’s employees are saying that the company should reverse its decision not to fact check political advertisements along with critics who are saying that this decision can spread misinformation among the public. The situation is worsened due to Facebook already facing an unparalleled advertiser boycott over its controlling of hate speech on the social platform.

Many countries like the UK, Israel, and Spain already have various restrictions on political campaigning and political reporting during the times of elections. However, such a political advertisement blackout in the US would be the first for Facebook.

The Washington Post reported in December that Facebook has already been thinking about such a blackout for a 72-hour time frame. They also reported that the company was also looking into making changes into political advertising, which also includes limiting the total number of ads a candidate can run at a time while also raising the number of people that a campaign could target with an ad, potentially increasing the audience. This shows that Facebook has looked into such ideas before, although it has never committed to them.

On the other hand, Twitter has taken a different approach than Facebook. It has decided to ban all political advertisements back in October. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has argued against all the criticism in a speech.

He said that he has considered whether they should stop allow political advertisements on the platform altogether, given the sensitivity surrounding them. He also said that the controversy is not worth the small part of the business they make up, from a business stand-point. However, Mark also pointed out that political ads are a very important part of the voice, especially for local candidates, up-and-coming challengers, and advocacy groups who may not get much attention from the media otherwise. So, banning political advertisements favors officials, and whoever the media decides to cover.

However, the ban might as well be temporary which will be unlike Twitter’s approach. All speculations cannot be answered until Facebook announces what it is planning for the ban, its timeframe, and how they would implement it on the massive platform.

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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