Mark Zuckerberg reveals Facebook will allow users to turn off political ads

In this Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about "News Tab" at the Paley Center, in New York. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday announced the social network will allow its users to turn off seeing political ads.
In this Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about "News Tab" at the Paley Center, in New York. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday announced the social network will allow its users to turn off seeing political ads. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

Facebook CEO Mark Zucerkberg has revealed the social media platform will let its users turn off political advertisements by way of a new feature that will be available to some as early as Wednesday.
Zuckerberg made the announcement in an opinion piece for USA Today, in which he also discussed Facebook’s goal of helping to register 4 million voters for the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
“Everyone wants to see politicians held accountable for what they say — and I know many people want us to moderate and remove more of their content,” Zuckerberg wrote on Tuesday.

“For those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you — so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.”

Facebook and its founder have sparked fierce debate over policies allowing politicians to run political ads containing false information on its platform. Twitter, in contrast, banned such content altogether in October 2019.

A spokesperson for the company told CNBC that all Facebook users will be able to turn off political, electoral and social issue ads from political candidates, Super PACs and “other organizations that have the ‘Paid for by’ political disclaimer on them."

The featured is slated be rolled out to some users starting Wednesday and will become available to everyone in the United States in the next few weeks. Facebook said it additionally has plans to expand the tool to other nations this coming fall.

Zuckerberg in his op-ed also discussed his company’s readiness to battle election interference as well as voter suppression and other voting issues, which could be worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook “has a responsibility not just to prevent voter suppression — which disproportionately targets people of color — but to actively support well-informed voter engagement, registration and turn out.”

To that end, the tech billionaire said Facebook is launching a Voting Information Center full of election related content — including information about voter registration, voting by mail and early voting. It will be located on the top of both Facebook and Instagram’s newsfeeds.

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