- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2020

Facebook said it plans to temporarily stop running political ads in the U.S. after polls close on Election Day next month in order to “reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse” on its platform.

All “social issue, electoral or political ads” in the U.S. will be suspended in the aftermath of voting ending on Nov. 3, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, Guy Rosen, announced Wednesday.

The restrictions will effectively ban Facebook ads prematurely claiming victory for President Trump, Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden or any of the hundreds of other candidates running for office.

It will also limit ads involving a variety of subjects considered “social issues” by Facebook, including ads about civil rights, crime, the economy, education, guns, health, immigration and others.

Facebook did not indicate how long the policy be in effect, and Mr. Rosen said it will notify advertisers once the restrictions are lifted.

Election results are likely to be delayed because of protocols in place due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, including the increased use of mail-in ballot by millions of voters this fall.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have warned bad actors may seek to exploit the extra time needed to determine the results of this year’s elections to spread related disinformation.

Facebook previously said it will ban new political ads from running the week before voting ends and that it will reject ads that claim victory before the results of the election are made official.

Google similarly announced last month it will temporarily pause ads on its platforms referencing the elections in the immediate aftermath of polls closing, citing the likelihood of delayed results.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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