Regardless of what side of any particular issue you're on, political ads kind of suck — and on top of that, it's not even clear how effective they are. The brass at Facebook is acknowledging that fact, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a piece published recently in USA Today that users will soon be able to opt out of seeing them entirely.
The change comes as part of a broader set of voter engagement initiatives. In the lead-up to the presidential election in November, Facebook will be showing all users voting information, including tips on registration and reminders to vote.
Facebook estimates something like 160 million people in the United States will see the info by November 20 between Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram — that's nearly half the total population. The company's goal, Zuckerberg writes, is to get four million Americans registered to vote this year. Facebook calls it "the largest voting information campaign in American history."
Acknowledging that plenty of Facebook's users are already registered and politically engaged, though, the site is also mercifully going to let users mute political advertising altogether. "And 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," Zuckerberg wrote. Users who opt out of seeing political ads will still see (apolitical) reminders to vote, but no ads for any specific candidate.
The initiative is set to kick off next month.
- USA Today