Meta allows Instagram, Facebook ads that say 2020 election was rigged

Meta is loosening the reins on its political advertising rules by allowing ads that spread certain election lies on its platforms.

Specifically, the social media giant will permit ads questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election to run on Facebook and Instagram.

The move is one of several changes Meta and others have made over the last year to lessen constraints on campaign ads ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

While the policy is a year old, it went widely unnoticed until The Wall Street Journal reported on it Wednesday. 

The rule will allow ads to say the 2020 election was “stolen” or “rigged.” It does not, however, permit ads to question whether ongoing or future elections are legitimate. 

The rule was part of an August 2022 announcement about Meta’s approach to midterm elections, which were upcoming at the time, according to The Guardian. That same month, Meta told The Washington Post it would allow posts about 2020 election denialism from political candidates or regular users.

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign slammed Meta’s policy in a statement. 

“We wish we could say we were surprised Meta is choosing to profit off of election denialism, but it seems to be a feature of theirs, not a bug,” TJ Ducklo, communications advisor to the Biden campaign, said in a statement to CNN. 

“They amplified the lies behind the ‘stop the steal’’movement. Now they’re coming for its cash. Joe Biden won the election in 2020 clearly, unequivocally, and fairly — no matter what Meta chooses to promote.”

The spread of misinformation on social media continues to be an ongoing challenge in politics and beyond.