Oct 26, 2020 - Technology

Facebook says new pre-election political ad rules apply to boosted posts

Animated GIF of a facebook AP button with a "no" symbol in the upper left corner

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook clarified Monday to Axios that its pre-Election Day ban on new political ads, going into effect Tuesday at midnight, applies to any political content with ad spend behind it — including boosted posts as well as ads created in Facebook's ad manager system.

Catch up quick: A boosted post is a regular Facebook post whose owner has paid Facebook to distribute it more widely. This approach is often used by smaller advertisers with less to spend.

Details: Facebook says that because boosted posts are a form of paid promotion, they are considered ads. For any political or issue ad to be able to run on Facebook during the restricted period, the ad must follow three rules:

  1. It must have been set up by an advertiser that has completed the official Facebook political ad authorization process;
  2. It must have cleared an ad review by Facebook;
  3. It must have delivered at least one impression before the ban kicks in at midnight Tuesday.

Yes, but: Campaigns can still run new, organic (unpaid) content during the ban period.

  • Critics worry that campaigns wishing to abuse the system would rush to get new ads approved and delivered before the ban went into effect so that they could still run last-minute messages.

The big picture: Facebook has made updates to its political ad rules ahead of the election in order to curb misinformation and confusion.

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