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Facebook lifts political ad ban for Georgia elections

The company announced Tuesday that starting Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT, advertisers will be able to start targeting Georgia with ads about the upcoming Senate runoff election there. All other political ads, however, will still be prohibited.

Facebook said the decision was a response to feedback from experts and advertisers in recent weeks. "We agree that our ad tools are an important way for people to get information about these elections," Product Manager Sarah Schiff wrote in a blog post.

Political campaigns, organizations and even charities have been pressing Facebook for more than a month to lift its political ad ban, which began on Election Day in the United States. They argued that the ban gave the incumbents in the race, including Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, an advantage over challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

The ban pushed millions of dollars in political advertising, mostly from the right, to other digital platforms like Hulu that don't have the same disclosure policies as Facebook does. The situation was further complicated by the fact that some far-right news outlets, like The Daily Wire, appeared to be using their exemption as news outlets to circumvent the ban and push explicitly political ads in the weeks since Election Day. Other far right groups including the viral video company PragerU also had political ads slip through Facebook's filters. Meanwhile, partisan outlets on the left, including the ones affiliated with Courier Newsroom, continued to see their ads blocked and lost roughly half of their traffic over the last month.

Facebook said advertisers will still need to go through its authentication process to run political ads in Georgia and that the company will "prioritize onboarding advertisers with direct involvement in these elections, including the campaigns, state and local elections officials, and state and national political parties."


Yes, GameStop is a content moderation issue for Reddit

The same tools that can be used to build mass movements can be used by bad actors to manipulate the masses later on. Consider Reddit warned.

WallStreetBets' behavior may not be illegal. But that doesn't mean it's not a problem for Reddit.

Image: Omar Marques/Getty Images

The Redditors who are driving up the cost of GameStop stock just to pwn the hedge funds that bet on its demise may not be breaking the law. But this show of force by the subreddit r/WallStreetBets still represents a new and uncharted front in the evolution of content moderation on social media platforms.

In a statement to Protocol, a Reddit spokesperson said the company's site-wide policies "prohibit posting illegal content or soliciting or facilitating illegal transactions. We will review and cooperate with valid law enforcement investigations or actions as needed."

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Issie Lapowsky
Issie Lapowsky (@issielapowsky) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University’s Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing. Email Issie.
Protocol | China

More women are joining China's tech elite, but 'Wolf Culture' isn't going away

It turns out getting rid of misogyny in Chinese tech isn't just a numbers game.

Chinese tech companies that claim to value female empowerment may act differently behind closed doors.

Photo: Qilai Shen/Getty Images

A woman we'll call Fan had heard about the men of Alibaba before she joined its high-profile affiliate about three years ago. Some of them were "greasy," she said, to use a Chinese term often describing middle-aged men with poor boundaries. Fan tells Protocol that lewd conversations were omnipresent at team meetings and private events, and even women would feel compelled to crack off-color jokes in front of the men. Some male supervisors treated younger female colleagues like personal assistants.

Within six months, despite the cachet the lucrative job carried, Fan wanted to quit.

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Shen Lu

Shen Lu is a Reporter with Protocol | China. She has spent six years covering China from inside and outside its borders. Previously, she was a fellow at Asia Society's ChinaFile and a Beijing-based producer for CNN. Her writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Times and POLITICO, among other publications. Shen Lu is a founding member of Chinese Storytellers, a community serving and elevating Chinese professionals in the global media industry.

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