In a post published last week, social media giant Facebook announced it won’t be allowing any political ads in the week running up to the US 2020 elections.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote in the post, “We’re going to block new political and issue ads during the final week of the campaign. It’s important that campaigns can run and get out the vote campaigns, and I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims.”
After concerns over misinformation campaigns online in 2016, Facebook promised to do more to protect voters from false information. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the new measures will be introduced to help Facebook ensure all ads are fact-checked.
In addition to blocking ads in the week before the election, it will also be placing the “Voter Information Center” feature at the top of feeds to ensure readers have “accurate, verified information and videos about how to vote.”
Another key strategy for stopping false information is to filter posts that might influence the election in other ways. For example, there are posts online designed to stop people voting due to the risk of being exposed to Covid-19.
“We’re now expanding this policy to include implicit misrepresentations about voting too, like ‘I hear anybody with a driver’s license gets a ballot this year,’ because it might mislead you about what you need to do to get a ballot, even if that wouldn’t necessarily invalidate your vote by itself,” Zuckerberg added.
Facebook says it also will “attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods, for example, by claiming that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud.”
Lastly, the company says it will take steps to stop false reporting of results to influence voters. “If any candidate or campaign tries to declare victory before the final results are in, we’ll add a label to their posts directing people to the official results from Reuters and the National Election Pool,” Facebook said.