SAN FRANCISCO— On Thursday, September 3, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will prohibit new political ads in the week before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
“The US elections are just two months away, and with Covid-19 affecting communities across the country, I’m concerned about the challenges people could face when voting. I’m also worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country… We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy,” wrote Zuckerberg in an official post.
He added: “In the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims.”
In the 2016 presidential election, foreign interference allegedly targeted political ads onto Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Facebook was scruitized for “fake news” on its platform.
Samantha Zager, the Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary took a stance against Zuckerberg’s policy, stating: “In the last seven days of the most important election in our history, President Trump will be banned from defending himself on the largest platform in America. 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.”
Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois also voiced their discontent with the decision as it may “undermine efforts to ensure voters… who use Facebook as a resource can access accurate information.”
The 2020 United States presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3.