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Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook said Thursday it will give consumers the option to stop seeing political ads in their feeds moving forward.

Why it matters: Facebook has been heavily criticized for its policies around political ads, especially for its decision not to fact-check political ads.

Details: In a blog post on Thursday, Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern said that seeing fewer political and issue ads "is a common request we hear from people."

  • Yes, but: Facebook admits it can't guarantee that some political ads won’t slip through the cracks and reach users who opt out, as the platform can't necessarily promise it can track every political ad on its platform.

The big picture: The decision was made alongside a slew of other updates to Facebook’s political ad policies, including allowing users to see the potential reach of political ads and giving them better search options to find political ads within its library.

Between the lines: One of the new controls that Facebook is rolling out will have implications far beyond politics.

  • Facebook also explained that later this month it will give users the ability to chose how advertisers targeting users via Facebook's "custom audiences" system can reach them. Advertisers who use the custom audiences approach to make ad targeting more efficient are allowed to create lists using data they have on people, like customer sales lists.
  • The control will apply to all advertisers, not just political advertisers, meaning consumers could limit how a retail or entertainment advertiser targets them using lists.

Our thought bubble: The historic levels of investment in political ads this cycle, especially on platforms like Google and Facebook, means that users are being bombarded with political messaging now more than ever. Political fatigue is likely starting to set in.

Go deeper: Democrats unimpressed with Facebook‘s new deepfakes policy

Go deeper

Dems race to address, preempt stimulus fraud claims

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Biden officials are working to root out the systematic fraud in unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program claims that plagued the Trump administration’s efforts to boost the economy with coronavirus relief money, Gene Sperling told House committee chairmen privately this week.

Why it matters: President Biden just signed another $1.9 trillion of aid into law, with Sperling tapped to oversee its implementation. And the administration is asking Congress to approve another $2.2 trillion for the first phase of an infrastructure package.

54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to picking Nick Burns as China ambassador

Nicholas Burns. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat, is in the final stages of vetting to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Across the administration, there's a consensus the U.S. relationship with China will be the most critical — and consequential — of Biden's presidency. From trade to Taiwan, the stakes are high. Burns could be among the first batch of diplomatic nominees announced in the coming weeks.

Biden's Russian sanctions likely to achieve little

President Biden announces new sanctions against Russia. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Despite bold talk from top administration officials, there's little reason to think the Russia sanctions package President Biden announced Thursday will do anything to alter Russian President Vladimir Putin's behavior or calculus.

Why it matters: While it's true some elements of the package — namely, the targeting of Russia's sovereign debt — represent significant punitive measures against Moscow, it leaves plenty of wiggle room for the Russian president.