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What you need to know about political ads in 2020

With the new year comes the next major election, now only months away. That means we’re about to be subject to a constant news cycle of election coverage and a steady stream of social media posts from your most opinionated relatives.

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Then there’s the advertising. Estimates show spending on political ads will hit a new record high in 2020. But how will social media platforms and other tech companies handle these ads, since there’s a history of many being deliberately misleading?

Some, like Spotify, are suspending political advertising altogether. We’ll tell you why.

Spotify suspends political ads

Spotify announced recently that it will be suspending all political advertising on its platform in 2020. The company said it’s suspending these ads because it doesn’t currently have the ability to screen the content.

Related: Clever browser extension blocks political ad retargeting and tracking

A spokesperson told Ad Age, “At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our processes, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content. We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities.”

Spotify isn’t the only company cracking down on political ads. Twitter committed to stopping accepting political ads a few months ago. The company does make an exception for ads based around political issues, though.

We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Google has also joined the party, restricting the way political advertisers are able to target specific audiences in the future.

In an update to Google’s political ads policy, it said on its blog that it will start limiting election ads audience targeting to the following categories: age, gender and general location (postal code level). This applies to Google search and display ads, plus ads on YouTube.

Related: Top 10 fake news articles on Facebook in 2019

Spotify’s suspension of political ads covers things like political organizations supporting candidates running for office, elected and appointed officials, Super Pacs and more.

Facebook, on the other hand, allows political ads. But the company says it won’t fake check them, so it can be hard for users to know what’s real and what’s not.

While the moves these companies are making might stop political ads from filling your news feeds, we still need to watch for fake news stories. Those are still spreading constantly, especially for Facebook users.

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