It’s been a little over a week since former-President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate in the impeachment trial surrounding his role in inciting a riot at the Capitol in January, and Google thinks it’s time we get back into the political swing of things.
In the wake of the November presidential election, Facebook and Google have waffled on whether to run political ad campaigns at a time when Trump and his supporters have engaged in a concerted effort to convince the public that President Joe Biden is an illegitimate winner. Following the deadly riots at the Capitol, Google said that it was implementing a temporary halt on political ads in line with its “sensitive events” policy due to a risk that ads could “exploit the event or amplify misleading information.” It has previously implemented a similar ban when a wave of covid-19 misinformation became a public health threat.
On Monday, Google told its advertising partners that the latest political ad ban will lift this Wednesday. A spokesperson for the company told Gizmodo that it “will continue to rigorously enforce our ads policies, which strictly prohibit demonstrably false information that could significantly undermine trust in elections or the democratic process.”
Axios first reported the news and, as they point out, Facebook still has its own ban on political ads in place. And honestly, what’s the rush to get back into a controversial practice so soon? Well, for starters, the world of political campaigning is a small economy unto itself, and it’s completely wrapped its infrastructure around Facebook and Google. That means political pressure is being aimed at these companies to get the messaging machine going again, and it means ad dollars are missing from the bottom line. Google self-reports that it’s made $747,961,000 in revenue from political ads since May 31, 2018.
There’s also the fact that the break between campaign seasons may be shorter than ever. Trump has never conceded that he lost his 2020 race, and his henchmen like Rep. Matt Gaetz have already started holding rallies to primary Republicans who aren’t considered sufficiently loyal to the godhead. With the impeachment trial out of the way and Trump’s criminal concerns just getting started, onlookers are expecting to see a lot more of the former-president. Earlier this morning, Axios reported that Trump plans to use his speech at CPAC (a kind of conservative Coachella) on Sunday to send one clear message: “I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I’m still in charge.”
It’s only a matter of time before 2021 starts to feel a little more normal.