By Tracey Dowdy
Did you know there’s a presidential election coming up in just a few weeks? How could you not? Everywhere you look, there are ads, campaign signs, and reminders to register to vote.
Most of us don’t need a reminder, and I, for one, am done with the relentlessly combative tone of this particular election season. Thankfully, there are ways to block some of the content coming at you on social media, particularly on Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook, who also owns Instagram, now allows users to turn off all political ads on both sites and apps ahead of the November 3 election.
It’s all part of Facebook’s efforts to encourage voting, including its goal of helping 4 million people register, the largest voting information effort in US history. Their new voter center gives individuals information about how and when to vote, voter registration, voting by mail and early voting, and information on their efforts to prevent election interference.
Both apps allow users to block all electoral or political ads from candidates, anything regarding social issues, and Super PACs or other organizations with the “Paid for by” political disclaimer on them from showing up in your feed.
You have two options if you want to turn off political ads on Facebook and Instagram.
- Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ads > Ad Preferences.
- Tap Ad Topics > Social issues, elections, or politics.
- Tap See fewer ads about this topic.
If you scroll past a political ad in your feed, there should be a tag that says Confirmed Organization in the top-right corner of the ad. When you click on that tag, a window will pop up at the bottom of the screen. From here, choose from three options: Who paid for this ad? Why am I seeing this? See fewer ads about this topic.
A new window will open. Tap to confirm that you want to see fewer ads about social issues, elections, and politics in the future.
Go to your account settings. Select Ad topics and then See fewer ads about social issues, elections, and politics.
Alternatively, if you see a political ad in your feed, tap where it says Paid for by and then select See fewer ads like this.
Currently, these options are available only in the US, but Facebook has plans to roll out the same features to countries where they can exercise enforcement on ads about social issues, elections, and politics.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.