Facebook is only lifting its post-election ban on political advertising in the state of Georgia on Wednesday as the state prepares for the January 5 runoff to determine which party will take control of the Senate.
Facebook said in a blog post on Tuesday that the decision to lift the ban in Georgia came after feedback that candidates and other groups wanted the opportunity to advertise on Facebook in order to reach voters before the runoff election.
“We agree that our advertising tools are an important way for people to get information about these elections,” wrote Sarah Schiff of Facebook in the blog post. “So we developed a process that advertisers can use to place ads to reach voters in Georgia via the run-off in Georgia.”
The change comes before the runoff elections in Georgia, in which Republicans Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler will challenge Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. As of now, Republicans will hold a 50-48 majority in the Senate in January. If the Democrats win both Georgia runoffs, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the casting vote giving the party unified control over the White House and Congress. If the Republicans only keep one seat, the GOP retains control of the Senate.
Facebook says it will allow advertisers to serve ads on social issues, elections, and politics to serve ads in Georgia. She said she would give priority to advertisers “directly participating in these elections” and reject ads targeting locations outside of Georgia. It also announced that it will continue to ban ads that contain content debunked by third-party fact checkers or that de-legitimize the Georgia runoff.
According to emails from CNBC, the company had taken a temporary break from advertising on election, political and social issues in the US to prevent confusion or abuse on its platform.
Facebook announced in October that it would stop running political ads in the US after the 2020 election on November 3 closed. However, due to the runoff vote for both seats in the Georgian Senate, the groups were unable to reach out to Facebook for fundraising ads or to do so.
Advertisers told CNBC last month that this would prevent groups from raising money from supporters across the country and educating voters, and would also impact year-end fundraising for nonprofits that deal with social issues.
Google last week lifted its own temporary hiatus on election-related advertising. The company had blocked these ads for a period of time to prevent potential exploitation or misinformation through advertisements as it expected delayed election results.
This story evolves.