Political Advertisements Should Be Banned on Social Media

Subject: Entertainment & Media
Pages: 9
Words: 2498
Reading time:
10 min
Study level: Bachelor


Over the past decades, political ads have become one of the main campaign strategies for politicians vying for various seats. Most young voters use social media platforms to become a target for politicians. The use of social media as a tool for political campaigns has been witnessed worldwide. The proponents of banning political advertisements on social media claim that they are a recipe for spreading false information, manipulation, and many more. According to Niederdeppe et al. (2021), there is a positive relationship between extended campaign advertising exposure to anxiety among American adults. This means that advertising politics on social media is increasing the instances of anxiety among users. However, the opponents claim that political advertising through social media enhances persuasion. Therefore, despite some opposition, political advertisements should be banned because it contributes to anxiety, animosity, hatred, and many more among the people.

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Reasons for Banning Political Advertisement On Social Media

Societal Factionalism

One of the reasons for banning political ads on social media is that political engagement may create societal factionalism. Palacios-Valladares (2020) posits that due to social factionalism, a society may become divided into separate factions, with one group adhering to one type of political viewpoint and another adhering to a different political viewpoint. This factionalism may become the principal cause of confrontations and other societal disturbances in the future. Furthermore, political life in a country with a party system can instigate division. It has the potential to incite hatred between parties, foster jealousy, and spark periodic riots and insurgencies. As a result, the public is compelled to form factions since they cannot reach an agreement on some issues. Social media should not allow politicians to divide and cause conflict in the name of a political ad.


Political advertisements should be banned on social media because it can cause anxiety among users. Niederdeppe et al. (2021) showed a strong relationship between exposure to political ads and the adverse impact on public health. Based on this, it is believed that political ads could lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and many more. Allowing political ads on social media puts many people’s lives at risk of mental health issues. For example, ads highlighting threats to safety and well-being, such as violence, economic crises, terrorism, and other national security issues, may increase feelings of fear and uncertainty over time. People who have previously suffered trauma due to political advertisements are more likely to be anxious when they see hateful political messages on social media. As a result, negative political messaging contributes to cases of anxiety among people.

Sharing of False Information

Political adverts should not be allowed on social media since they help disseminate misinformation. Halpern (2019) states that two of the political ads falsely accused former Vice President Joe Biden of bribing Ukrainian officials a billion dollars in exchange for dropping a case against his son Hunter on Facebook on October 2nd. This demonstrates how social media may be used to misinform society. The information presented in political advertisements is not fact-checked, which increases the likelihood of the public obtaining misleading information (Halpern, 2019). In addition, due to the design of social media, the ad went viral, and a video that was made to appear as if Biden was confessing to the crime was widely circulated on social media. As a result, politicians can misrepresent social media to spread lies against opponents.

Social media firms are considering the adverse impact of political campaigns on the community. Several social media firms, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, TikTok, and other major digital platforms, have taken the unprecedented step of forbidding political adverts in the run-up to the 2020 election. These policy changes aimed to reduce the spread of misinformation (Fischer & Gold, 2021). The program was met with enthusiasm at the time. The companies should look beyond the funds and freedom of communication that they attain through political ads. This shows that the reason for banning ads should be based entirely on ethics, especially in communication. Social media should ensure that they do not provide a platform where politicians can spread their false information.

Moreover, it is immoral for people to use the aspect of freedom of speech without considering the impact of the information from the politicians that should be publicized. Despite Biden’s request for the commercial to be withdrawn, the corporation was rejected it on the grounds of free speech (Halpern, 2019). In response to a letter addressed to Facebook about rising disinformation rates, the firm said that controlling the content presented by their clients is a threat to the company’s policy, and politicians are free to make whatever claims in their political advertisements. When President Trump’s campaigns made false accusations, Facebook contended that the advertisements were newsworthy and should be discussed with the public. This indicates that social media can be used as a tool to damage a political opponent, especially when companies are biased and lean on one side of the political divide.

Permitting political ads would provide politicians with a platform for lies. The impact of the lies is felt when the politicians are dishonest, the voters are uneducated, and the media is biased (Fischer & Gold, 2021). Based on this, there is a possibility that hyperlinks are used to convert lies into donations, which turn donations into even louder lies. As a result, social media would be promoting a dystopia of deception in the public domain. If Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube want to promote truth in political advertisements, they should cease selling them. They should not be distributed if they cannot be shared safely. The media firms do not have an option but to end politicians’ constant lies on their platforms.

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The Ads Are Used as Weapons

Political advertisements on social media should also be banned because they can be used as a weapon in society, particularly during election campaigns. According to the US constitution, all people have the right to free expression (Spring, 2019). However, social media networks should be cautious about the messages they post because the public believes that political information and figures are validated. As a result, a group can control social media to achieve political mileage against an opponent. For example, the Russian government militarized social media as part of its electoral meddling in the 2016 election cycle (Tufekci, 2018). The elites in the society can use social media as a tool, among other techniques, to divide the electorate.

Social media increases the penetration of politicians’ hate content. Bursztyn et al. (2019) investigated the spread and impact of social media on hate crimes. They found that higher levels of social media penetration increased the cases of hate-based crimes. According to the findings, content on social media has a persuasive effect, particularly on teenagers and uneducated persons who altered their beliefs as a result of their social media exposure (Bursztyn et al., 2019). For example, if a politician uses a platform such as Facebook to share their content, there is a possibility that many people will view the content. Thus, political advertisements can be used to spread hate speech through social media platforms.


Political advertisements should be banned to avoid manipulation of voters during campaign periods. According to Haenschen & Jennings (2020), manipulation through social media is becoming more common, with an increasing number of governments and political parties employing cynical social media algorithms, automation, and big data to shape public opinion on a large scale, with serious consequences for democracy. In addition, social media platforms such as Facebook have millions of users across the globe. This means that if political ads are allowed on social media, most users are more likely to be influenced. Furthermore, because politicians are good at manipulation to achieve their intended objectives, it is possible that they would use social media. As a result, social media users would be exposed to manipulations.


The other reason political advertisement on social media should be banned is that it contributes to the negative impact of micro-targeting. Haenschen & Jennings (2020) posits that micro-targeting has the ability to influence the entire household. Micro-targeting is a method used by political organizations to forecast the preferences of a given audience by analyzing personal data. Most social media companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, use this approach as their basic economic model, and it has become well-known. Unfortunately, in this period, the private information of several social media users was harvested without their permission. Based on this, micro-targeting is an unethical practice used by politicians to achieve their objectives.

Change of Behavior

Political advertisements through social media should be banned because they can lead to a change in behavior. Social media gives politicians a platform to persuade users (Bursztyn et al., 2019). Persuasion can influence the behavior of social media users through various mechanisms. For example, politicians can persuade voters by changing their preferences on political issues or changing their beliefs on some concepts. Therefore, it is ethical for campaigns to be conducted on level ground. The media should also provide a neutral ground for all politicians. This means that every politician should be given a chance to share their content on social media regardless of their financial status (Bursztyn et al., 2019). Thus, using social media platforms creates an unfair environment for politicians who cannot sponsor a political advertisement.

Bribery of Voters

Using political advertisements on social media can encourage the bribery of voters. Giving bribes to gain political mileage is against the established codes of conduct. Social media provides a good platform where politicians can meet people individually or in groups (Bursztyn et al., 2019). For example, through micro-targeting, politicians are able to target social media users. Based on this, politicians can facilitate the distribution of money to identified users to vote. This is an electoral offense that is punishable by law. When social media allows political ads on their platform, they are more likely to promote bribery of voters. Therefore, social media becomes a facilitator of voter bribery.

Allowing political ads on social media can deprive the country of brilliant individuals who could contribute to its development. This is due to the fact that members of the opposing parties are almost certainly barred from participating in government for the benefit of the entire nation (Bursztyn et al., 2019). If politicians are allowed to advertise on paid media, they are likely to disadvantage those who cannot pay. Since most people are likely to make decisions based on what they constantly hear, wealthy politicians are prone to win. The entire process deprives people of their ability to get the right leaders. Therefore, social media denies people suitable leaders when they price political ads on their platforms.

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Politicians can engage in self-serving propaganda that harms national interests. The nation’s political environment suffers when politicians promote vested interests that benefit only a few individuals and is hostile to other parties (Bursztyn et al., 2019). This suggests that social media will likely serve the interests of a select few in society. When politicians focus more on a certain group of people over the country as a whole, it destabilizes society and adversely affects a country’s stability and peace. Now, social media would be participating in serving a few people’s interests instead of the national interest.

Political Animosity

According to survey data from the US, there is an indirect impact of the internet on political animosity. They used disparities controls to evaluate internet service and discovered that the internet fosters party-based antagonism and separation. These are the factors that drive growth in the political landscape. They do not, however, offer statistics demonstrating a direct connection between the availability of the internet and political division. Yanagizawa-Drott et al. (2020) investigate the relationship between the system structure of Facebook and political division. Their findings show that voting homogeneity was higher in areas of the US with higher levels of political homophily among Facebook contacts. These findings also suggest that online homophily may be a driving factor in the emergence of political polarization.

The use of social media to advertise political content is to blame for an apparent rise in xenophobic ideas and, ultimately, hate crimes by enabling the transmission of hate speech. First, social media could influence hate crimes in a variety of ways (Bursztyn et al., 2019). For instance, because social media aids coordination and collective action, prospective hate crime perpetrators may use it as well. Second, social media has the power to change people’s minds: previously tolerant people may become hostile after being exposed to xenophobic views online, and people with somewhat xenophobic beliefs may become more severe because of polarizing effects.

The Reasons Against Banning Political Ads On Social Media

One counter-argument against allowing the sharing of political advertisements on social media is that the US constitution guarantees the right to free expression. The freedom policies governing how social networks should be utilized set no restrictions on the type of information shared. As a result, social media networking corporations have been given the authority to control the information disseminated by politicians. According to Kreiss & Mcgregor (2019), it is not acceptable for private firms to control politicians or the news in a democracy. The values of enjoying the liberties guaranteed by the constitution inspire American culture and peaceful coexistence. Therefore, politicians should not be allowed to use freedom of expression to infringe on other people’s rights, manipulate and cause violence.

In addition, the opponents of banning political advertising on social media have cited constitutional principles to justify allowing political leaders to share anything on the platform. They claimed that social media is a platform that is supposed to promote transparency and free expression and that determining which information is accurate or fraudulent is difficult given the general public (Kreiss & Mcgregor, 2019). For example, a television advertisement for Trump’s campaign stated that he produced six million jobs, half of which were manufacturing employment, among other accomplishments highlighted in the ad. Based on opponents, it is the general public’s responsibility to determine the accuracy of the information and not the media firms. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the media to ensure that the information passed to consumers does not instigate fear or promote hate.


Political ads on social media have an adverse impact on society. Social media provide a platform where people are free to express their thoughts and opinions on societal concerns. However, political leaders have begun to abuse this platform by disseminating false information about some subjects in political advertisements. The problem has become even worse because social media platforms such as Facebook have enabled users to post any genuine or fake information. The target audience is the most susceptible to this information since they feel the things presented are accurate. Political advertisements have often been used as a weapon during elections to influence voter results. They have also been used as platforms for sharing hate against opponents to achieve a political objective. Therefore, political advertisements should be banned in all paid media, such as Facebook.


Bursztyn, L., Egorov, G., Enikolopov, R., & Petrova, M. (2019). Social media and xenophobia: evidence from Russia. (Publication no. DP14877) [Discussion paper, Centre for Economic Policy Research]. National Bureau of Economic Research.

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