Facebook says not blocking Iraq elections ads

Facebook says not blocking party, candidate ads for Iraqi elections
2 min read
02 September, 2021
The Iraqi judiciary council called on Facebook to pull social media posts that were defamatory or 'fuelled sectarianism', a media and communications official has said.
Iraq's judiciary council has asked Facebook to take down some Iraqi party and candidate election ads [Getty]

Facebook denied on Wednesday that it is restricting advertisements for Iraqi political parties and candidates in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections,

An official from the Media and Communications Commission, an Iraqi state agency, told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Iraq's judiciary council requested Facebook take down posts that relied on "defamation" and "fuelled sectarianism", the official from the Media and Communications Commission, a state agency, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Facebook has previously placed restrictions on advertisements during election campaigns for what it said was to prevent misinformation, including the US elections in 2020.

Facebook told The New Arab that it has not restricted political advertisements on its platform.

"While we’re introducing a number of measures in this election that we applied to the US election,  there are no current plans to introduce this one," a representative said.

Instead, Facebook said that anyone running ads from 25 August on Facebook or Instagram about political figures, political parties, any election, or vote mobilisation campaign in Iraq would have to go through an authorisation process, verifying who they are using Iraqi government-issued photo identification.

The United Nations mission in Iraq last week called on Iraqi election stakeholders and the media to avoid misinformation in the run-up to the vote, which takes place on 10 October.

Officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2018 election, which faced widespread accusations of fraud.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi's office said Wednesday that the government has thwarted attempts to "rig" the elections.

Authorities arrested electoral commission officials who have allegedly tried to rig elections by spreading misinformation on websites, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.

This story has been updated to include comment from Facebook.