Well, one can dream -- as we still can vote.
Facebook's move comes after years of criticism, stemming from the 2016 presidential election. Going into the 2020 election, it looks to give an option -- as perhaps fraud/manipulation/disclosure concerns rise again. (Today, it also removed a Trump campaign ad, citing a Nazi symbol.)
Linear TV stations aren’t likely -- or just technologically can’t -- offer the same option. Much of this stems from what is expected to be another record-breaking year for political advertising on local TV.
Already, TV stations have been under some duress, due to the postponement of TV sports events, as well as the Summer Tokyo Olympics. They are desperate to see one of their big money makers fill up ad revenue coffers.
While free speech seems to be a key component of how Facebook wants to operate, it also seems to suggest that 1) It can’t verify where some political advertising comes from, 2) It can’t determine the veracity of the messaging, and 3) It can’t find another way to appease its user base.
By comparison, TV can, broadly speaking, verify where its political advertising money is coming from, including PACs.
But what about premium video/digital media platforms -- like connected TV operations that use third-party aggregators and other demand-side buying platforms? Concerning all the fraud issues that abound, this may be a problem.
Facebook wants to focus on what it can handle, including the voting process. For its part, it wants to help get 4 million people registered to vote. Previously, it did the same, to a lesser degree, for the 2016 and 2018 elections.
On linear TV, viewers do have some options when it comes to avoiding ad messaging. Political TV advertising can be easily skipped through time-shifted TV technology. Live TV content -- news and sports -- is a different story. (That said, there is always the mute button.)
Still, perhaps ever-sketchy TV attack ads might blur the lines of what digital media confronts. So what kind of engagement can we expect from consumers to this year’s political advertising, especially from the Biden and Trump advertising campaigns?