Facebook announces upcoming ban

The platform announced that it will limit political ads in the week before the election

Written BY BRYCE OLDS, guest writer
Photo Courtesy of Flickr
Facebook plans to ban new political ads from appearing in users’ feeds during the week before the election. Some believe that this move will help the
platform, often associated with misinformation campaigns during the 2016 presidential elections. Others believe it suppresses users’ access to information.

Facebook announced on Sept. 3 that they will be banning any new political ads one week before the election to fight disinformation. 

“We’ve voted during global pandemics before. We can do this. But it’s going to take a concerted effort by all of us,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated. 

Additionally, Facebook plans to limit the number of messages that people can forward on its Messenger app.  

There are many critics of this action, including members of the Trump administration. 

“When millions of voters will be making their decisions, the president will be silenced by the Silicon Valley mafia, who will at the same time allow corporate media to run their biased ads to swing voters in key states,” Samantha Zager, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, said about Facebook’s decision to limit ads.  

Facebook has received negative attention for allowing misleading political ads on its site. 

Earlier this year, some Facebook employees staged a walkout to protest Zuckerberg’s lack of response to Trump’s posts about Black Lives Matter protests.  

Facebook is not planning to limit any approved ads that come in before the Oct. 27 cut-off date. Political ads that were approved before that date will still be running at a normal capacity on the site.   

Xavier students have mixed feelings about this topic. 

“I think it’s a non-factor… the people who use Facebook and consume political media on Facebook are probably not the kind of people who would care about last-minute advertisements. It seems like a cop-out,” Garrett Andrews, a sophomore accounting major, stated.   

“It’s a shame because being one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, they should be some of the last ones to be censoring free speech,” junior sports marketing major Tyler Anderson said. 

“I don’t really see how stopping this one week from the election does anything, but I could see how one of the candidates could make up a big story, say two weeks before (the election), and that doesn’t give the other candidate any time to release an ad defending themselves, and then a bunch of people believe the misleading ad,” Anderson added. 

“Cutting off the ads a week before the election would be good because I think some ads can be wrongfully persuasive and lead people in the wrong direction,” Caroline Castrucci, a first-year early childhood major, stated.

“I think it is a suppression of thoughts and a suppression of the media,” junior psychology major Ethan Gogel  said. 

“I think it’s something that we’ve been doing for a long time and we need to decide whether private companies have the right to suppress (the) media or not.”