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Facebook plans to continue a ban on political ads for another month

By Mike Isaac

Facebook said Wednesday that it plans to continue a moratorium on political advertising for another month, a move that may affect Democrats and Republicans as they continue vying against each other in key Senate races in Georgia.

“The temporary pause for ads about politics and social issues in the U.S. continues to be in place as part of our ongoing efforts to protect the election,” Facebook said in an update to its government and policy blog. “Advertisers can expect this to last another month, though there may be an opportunity to resume these ads sooner.”

Facebook initially said in October that it would ban all political advertising on the site after polls closed Nov. 3, an attempt to minimize the spread of election-related misinformation. At the time, Facebook did not commit to when it would resume running the ads, though it estimated the ban would last a week after the election.

But that timeline changed after President Donald Trump refused to concede to President-Elect Joe Biden. Facebook sent a private note to its advertisers earlier this week announcing the ban’s extension, which was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The advertising ban is contentious among Democratic and Republican campaign staff members and strategists because political candidates often rely on Facebook to raise funds and spread the word. In Georgia, two Senate races are headed to a runoff between the Democratic and Republican candidates Jan. 5.

Last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said in an interview with The New York Times that Facebook was crucial for politicians.

“I’ve looked through a lot of these campaigns that lost, and the fact of the matter is, if you’re not spending $200,000 on Facebook with fundraising, persuasion, volunteer recruitment, get-out-the-vote the week before the election, you are not firing on all cylinders,” she said.

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