Fb faces elevated strain to finish its "type of voter suppression" as Google reintroduces political advertisements
Google may have lifted its political advertising ban on Thursday, ending a month-long power outage for campaign advertisers. However, Facebook's corresponding policy remains unchanged, causing increasing anger among ad buyers.
The ongoing power outage on Facebook results in the loss of millions in potential fundraisers, as well as accidental penalties for ads outside of politics, including task-oriented campaigns like environmental advocacy groups.
There was no shortage of fake political misinformation on the internet surrounding Election Day, but you won't find any in recent Facebook or Google ads. This is because after the polls closed on November 3rd, the companies put in place a temporary suspension of political ads. The ban prevented those working on the two upcoming Senate runoff elections in Georgia from placing advertisements on corporate advertising networks.
“Although we no longer view the post-election period as a sensitive event, we will strictly enforce our advertising policy, which prohibits proven false information that could, among other things, significantly undermine confidence in elections or the democratic process. Google's industry leader Mark Beatty told advertisers in an email received from Adweek.
A campaign spokesman for candidate Raphael Warnock challenging Senator Kelly Loeffler said the campaign was pleased that "Google finally lifted its violating ban" and was disappointed that it was lifted after the December 7th voter registration deadline expired is critical Facebook is reversing course and doing the same, "said the spokesman.
Liberal ad buyers and the two Democratic Senate campaigns in Georgia expressed their contempt for Facebook's ad stops. one person even went so far as to call it voter suppression. Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
A Democratic ad buyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, estimated that "Georgia has lost at least eight figures of donations, probably even more". This is all the more urgent as the latest GroupM report shows that, for the first time, more than half of digital advertising dollars (excluding political ad spend) are being used on platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
The campaign for candidate Jon Ossoff challenging Senator David Perdue had tougher words for Facebook.
"Facebook continues its own form of voter suppression by maintaining its ban, which disproportionately affects color communities, while ignoring the rampant disinformation on its platform," campaign spokeswoman Miryam Lipper told Adweek, suggesting that the advertising bans would have adversely affected the campaign's ability to register voters. "Facebook should follow suit immediately and lift the ban on advertising so that we can provide the Georgians with important information for an early vote."
Scott Fairchild, Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called Facebook and Google's guidelines "wrong". He added that they "do not solve the serious problems these online platforms have with the spread of organic disinformation about our elections".
"The longer Facebook's advertising ban lasts, the more untenable this decision becomes and the more damage it does to voter turnout in the run-off elections in Georgia, which disproportionately affects color communities," added Fairchild.
Loeffler and Perdue's campaigns did not respond to requests for comment, and neither did the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Facebook declined to comment on the status of the ban, but told advertisers on November 11 that it would be extended "for another month".
However, the ad interruption on Facebook has grown larger than on political ads. The New York Times recently reported that corporate "Hunger, Environment and Immigration" corporations could not use Facebook ads because they were involved in the ad break. Facebook product manager Sarah Schiff told the Times the company had to make "tough decisions".