Facebook Set to Block State-Controlled Media Ads Ahead of 2020 U.S. Elections

UTC by Steve Muchoki · 3 min read
Facebook Set to Block State-Controlled Media Ads Ahead of 2020 U.S. Elections
Photo: Depositphotos

Facebook announced that it will not support all state-controlled media outlets in promoting their ads effective this summer ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections. FB shares are up 0.45% to trade around $227.30 in the pre-market.

American online social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) announced its stand on state-controlled ads on Thursday. According to the CNBC report, the social networking company announced that it will no longer allow state-controlled media outlets to run ads on teh Facebook platform as the U.S. presidential campaigns continue.

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Facebook was criticized heavily by the U.S. policymakers for the 3,000 ads that were purchased by the Russian agency. According to the allegations made by the U.S., some of the ads specifically were used to deepen disagreements on the Black Lives Matter movement and on the Muslims philosophy.

The case dragged the company’s top executives including Mark Zuckerberg to the Senate to explain on the matter and why it should continue operating in the country. 

Facebook Ads Policy

The supremacy battle between the United States, China and Russia has as a result left Facebook biased to one party and left out the rest.

This is because among the state media outlets affected includes Russia Today, and Sputnik from Russia, Xinhua News, and CCTV from China. According to Facebook, the move will assist in preventing foreign interference during the 2020 US elections.

“Later this summer we will begin blocking ads from these outlets in the US out of an abundance of caution to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate ahead of the November 2020 election in the U.S.,” Facebook said in a statement.

Its action might be strategic in the long term, however, it attracted attention and disagreements from the mentioned parties. “A U.S. company long in bed with the U.S. establishment, telling the entire rest of the world what it can and cannot say, is the definition of a technological dictatorship and censorship,” said a spokesperson from Russia Today.

Apart from censoring state-controlled ads, Facebook will also begin labeling pages and posts from state-controlled media outlets in order to provide users with more transparency. 

It is not clear if this will eliminate chances of election manipulation from foreign entities as the coronavirus crisis might have complicated the issue more. However, it seems the company is leaving nothing at chance or luck. 

How it affects its stock in the longterm remains hidden until the campaigns heighten. Facebook (FB) stock continues scaling higher with the company anticipating the ads business to pick in the coming quarters. Though yesterday FB stock was 1.68% down, today in the pre-market it is 0.45% up. Its current price is $227.30.

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Steve Muchoki
Author Steve Muchoki

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