Facebook lifts ban on political ads just for Georgia runoff elections

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Facebook said Tuesday it will allow political ads to run on its platform ahead of the runoff elections in Georgia next month while continuing to ban political ads in the rest of the country.

Starting Wednesday, Facebook will allow ads in the state from advertisers who are approved to run ads about social issues, elections or politics.

The January 5 runoffs in Georgia are for two Senate seats that will determine control of the US Senate. Early voting began on Monday.

"In recent weeks we’ve heard feedback from experts and advertisers across the political spectrum about the importance of expressing voice and using our tools to reach voters ahead of Georgia’s runoff elections," Facebook said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Facebook also said it would "prohibit any ad that includes content debunked by third-party fact-checkers or delegitimizes the Georgia runoff elections."

The move is the latest example of tech companies rethinking their broad bans on political advertising around the election. Last week, Google lifted its election-related moratorium on political ads, saying the election is no longer a "sensitive event."

Facebook still won;t allow ads on social issues, elections or politics elsewhere in the US, as part of a previous policy announcement.

The company has come under heavy criticism for its political ads, which allow politicians to lie. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in September that the company would not accept new political ads in the final week of the 2020 campaign.

"It;s important that campaigns can run get out the vote campaigns, and I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post at the time.

Facebook later announced extending the ad ban for an extra month after the election.