Facebook announced that users will be able to turn off “all social issue, electoral or political ads from candidates, Super PACs or other organizations that have the ‘Paid for by’ political disclaimer” on both Facebook and Instagram. The company also set a goal to help register 4 million voters for the upcoming election.
Giving users control over their feeds sounds great, but I will be very surprised if the data doesn’t show that the people most likely to be affected by political advertising are also the least likely to configure their feeds.
Let’s bucket the outcomes:
- People who like to discuss politics will leave their feeds alone. They will not want to be excluded from the conversation.
- People who ignore political ads now have a better way to ignore them, but — in practice — this new feature does not impact them at all.
Who’s left? People who will leave the ads on because they don’t know how or can’t be bothered to configure their feeds. Or, worse, because they believe that they are not impacted by political advertising. Oh, wait! That’s exactly who was supposed to benefit from this. Oops!
I’d love to be wrong. Maybe it’s a great idea. I welcome your thoughts.
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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.