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Photo: SOPA Images / Getty Images

Facebook and Google are extending their bans on political ads to prevent confusion about the election, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: While tech companies are trying to limit post-election misinformation, hundreds of millions of dollars are about to pour into Georgia, now that control of the Senate — and the fate of the next president's agenda — hinges on runoffs for now one, but both of the state's seats, set for Jan. 5.

The state of play: The platforms originally said the bans would go a week after Election Day, but may continue thereafter. The bans were instituted to prevent messaging that could be misleading or misinform the public about election outcomes, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

  • President Trump has taken to social media to amplify baseless claims of voter fraud, and his supporters have followed. Facebook has already shut down a number of fast-growing “Stop the Steal” groups, many of which organized around armed protests of alleged voter fraud.
  • Though the ban is intended to limit misinformation, it will create difficulties for Democrats and Republicans as they gear up for Senate runoffs in early January. Political advertising is one major avenue of outreach.
  • Neither Google nor Facebook commented on how their extended ad bans might affect the Georgia runoff.

Facebook’s ban is expected to continue for another month. It's unclear when Google's ban will lift.

What they’re saying: President-elect Joe Biden has said Facebook is not doing enough to strike down the “Stop the Steal" narrative.

  • Biden aide Bill Russo tweeted on Monday that the company is “shredding the fabric of our democracy.”

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook seeks a new head of U.S. public policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook is looking externally for a new U.S. policy chief as it moves Kevin Martin, a Republican who now holds the job, to a different position, per a memo seen by Axios.

Between the lines: Facebook is moving on from the Trump era in which Republicans held most of the power in Washington and Facebook was particularly eager among tech companies to forge warm relations with GOP policymakers.

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning four of the five cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in four out of five instances gives legitimacy to the board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook developing a tool to help advertisers avoid bad news

Photo Illustration: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook on Friday said it's testing new advertiser "topic exclusion controls" to help address concerns marketers may have that their ads are appearing next to topics in Facebook's News Feed that they consider bad for their brand.  

Why it matters: As Axios has previously noted, the chaotic nature of the modern news cycle and digital advertising landscape has made it nearly impossible for brands to run ads against quality content in an automated fashion without encountering bad content.