Meta loosely outlined how it plans to brace its platforms for the upcoming U.S. midterm elections Tuesday, starting with political ads. In November, the nation will decide a number of key congressional and gubernatorial races in the midst of worsening political polarization that the social network has become synonymous with in recent years.
Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, detailed steps similar to the measures the company took previously in lieu of proposing many new ideas or areas of investment. That includes disabling new “political, electoral and social issue ads” during the week prior to voting on November 8. Ads that ran before the blackout period will be allowed to continue running but the company will disable most edits for them during that time, including any changes to who they target.
“Our rationale for this restriction period remains the same as 2020: in the final days of an election, we recognize there may not be enough time to contest new claims made in ads,” Meta Global Affairs President Nick Clegg wrote in a blog post. “This restriction period will lift the day after the election and we have no plans to extend it.”
Meta might not have plans to extend its pause on political ads, but it could still wind up improvising. Facebook paused political ads on November 4, 2020 but wound up extending that blackout phase well into the next year, only making an exception in mid-December for campaigns around the Georgia runoff elections.