Facebook to temporarily halt political ads in U.S. after polls close Nov. 3, broadening earlier restrictions

Facebook said it plans to temporarily suspend all political and issue-based advertising after polls close Nov. 3, a move the company said was intended to limit confusion, misinformation and abuse of its services in the days after the presidential election.

The social media giant also said it would remove calls for people to watch the polls when those posts use militaristic or intimidating language. Executives said the policy applies to anyone, including President Trump and other officials. Trump has made calls for people to engage in poll-watching, including at the presidential debate, and son Donald Trump Jr. appeared in an ad last month urging people to “defend your ballot” and join an “army” to protect the polls.

Facebook executives said such language, including the words “army” and “battle” would be prohibited in the future, but the ad will not be removed retroactively.

The moves by Facebook come in the face of criticism that the company has allowed misinformation and intimidating speech by politicians to run rampant, and that its policy to not fact-check political ads has created a loophole for misinformation that has been exploited repeatedly. The company has previously said it will suspend running new political ads in the week before the election but will allow ads that have previously been approved to continue running.

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