In a significant shift from its previous approach to elections, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is distancing itself from politics, which could have a profound impact on the 2024 U.S. presidential election. An analysis of posts by the Trump and Biden campaigns show both have faced a 60 percent drop in engagement between 2020 and 2024 on Facebook.

The Washington Post reports that as the 2024 presidential race between incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump intensifies, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is making significant changes to its approach to politics on its platforms. This shift comes after years of courting the political world, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg once touting Facebook’s influence in the 2016 election, stating, “We helped millions of people connect with candidates so they could hear from them directly and be better informed.”

SCHNECKSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA – APRIL 13: Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally outside Schnecksville Fire Hall on April 13, 2024 in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg surrounded by guards ( Chip Somodevilla /Getty)

The company’s attitude towards politics began to change after it was blamed in part for allowing users to organize the events of January 6. Zuckerberg told investors three weeks after the event, “People don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services.”

The company has reduced the visibility of politics-focused posts and accounts, imposed stricter rules on political advertisers, and limited the targeting system that politicians have long relied on to reach potential voters. The impact of these changes has been felt by both the Biden and Trump campaigns, with a Post review finding a 60 percent decline in their average engagement per Facebook post between March 2020 and March 2024, and double-digit declines on Instagram.

Meta spokesperson Dani Lever defended the changes, stating, “These changes are intended to impact what people see because that is what they told us they wanted — to see less political content and have more controls. This approach builds on years of work and is being applied to everyone.”

Top Trump campaign adviser Chris LaCivita likened Meta’s push away from politics to a form of shadow banning, stating, “People should be concerned, and Congress should have questions. I think Big Tech would be absurd if they think Republicans would not have a concern about them putting their finger on the scale of organic political speech.”

Some experts, like Natalie Stroud, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who studies social media, are questioning the implications of this shift: “It’s just an interesting moment. There seems to be just a pattern away [from news and politics on social media], and it just makes me think: Where will people go for this information? Or will they just go without it?”

Read more at the Washington Post here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.