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UPDATE 2-Facebook to lift post-election political ad pause in Georgia

(Adds context on Facebook political ad ban, details from spokeswoman)

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc on Tuesday said it would lift a temporary post-election ban on political ads in Georgia beginning on Wednesday, as the U.S. state prepares for runoff elections next month that will determine which party controls the Senate.

The ban on political ads in other states will remain, the social media giant said in a blog post bit.ly/2Kqjkrh. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to say when this overall ban would be lifted.(bit.ly/3nt0K0k)

Both Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google introduced pauses on political ads after the Nov. 3 presidential election as part of measures to combat misinformation and other abuses on the sites. Google lifted its pause last week, saying it no longer considered the post-election period to be a “sensitive event.”

Facebook product manager Sarah Schiff wrote in the blog post that the company had heard feedback in recent weeks from “experts and advertisers across the political spectrum about the importance of expressing voice and using our tools to reach voters ahead of Georgia’s runoff elections.”

Last month, Facebook director of product management Rob Leathern had tweeted that the company did not have “the technical ability in the short term to enable political ads by state or by advertiser.”

Asked what had changed, the Facebook spokeswoman said the company had decided to implement a temporary solution where advertisers could be manually enabled to run ads.

In the blog, Schiff said that Facebook would “prioritize onboarding advertisers with direct involvement in these elections, including the campaigns, state and local elections officials, and state and national political parties.” (Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)

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