Facebook said on Thursday it will block any new political ads in the week before November’s elections even though it will continue to let politicians make false statements in ads, The New York Times reports.
The social network said it would reject new political ads in the days ahead of the vote and would prevent any candidate from prematurely declaring victory in a statement that seemed aimed at President Donald Trump.
The social network said it would also crack down on attempts to discourage voting and coronavirus misinformation.
“This election is not going to be business as usual,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, adding that “we all have a responsibility to protect our democracy.”
Facebook reports Russian meddling to FBI:
The announcement came days after Facebook said the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed group that meddled in the 2016 election, was using fake accounts and a website intended to look like a left-wing news outlet to push misinformation.
The social network said it reported the efforts to the FBI and removed the fake accounts.
Trump slams move:
The Trump campaign alleged that the move was biased against the president.
“When millions of voters will be making their decisions, the president will be silenced by the Silicon Valley mafia, who will at the same time allow corporate media to run their biased ads to swing voters in key states,” campaign spokeswoman Samantha Zager said.
Tara McGowan, the CEO of the liberal nonprofit Acronym, also criticized the move, arguing that it would allow top publishers like Breitbart to “fill the vacuum.”
“By banning new political ads in the final critical days of the 2020 election, Facebook has decided to tip the scales of the election to those with the greatest followings on Facebook — and that includes President Trump and the right-wing media that serves him,” she said.