Facebook moves to target misinformation before USA presidential election

Facebook moves to target misinformation before USA presidential election

Facebook will block new political ads in the final week before the US presidential election, the social network announced on Thursday.

Facebook does allow politicians to run ads that included false claims, and for the most part Mr Zuckerberg did not suggest that policy would change.

The company also said it was creating a label for posts by candidates or campaigns that try to claim victory before the election results are official.

Facebook plans to highlight its voting information center, a dedicated section of the service where Americans can register to vote and learn more about the process, atop users' Facebook and Instagram pages nearly every day between now and November 3, a company spokesman says.

Facebook said Thursday it will ban new political advertising the week before the USA election, one of its most sweeping moves yet against disinformation as CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned of a "risk of civil unrest" after the vote.

And Facebook has always been criticized for not fact-checking political ads or limiting how they can be targeted at small groups of people.

"I think we have to acknowledge that in prohibiting new political advertising over that last week, the company is essentially volunteering the position that it believes that political ads have the potential to harm the democratic process", Ghosh said.

Twitter Inc TWTR.N a year ago banned political ads, and Alphabet's GOOGL.O Google limited the ways election advertisers could micro-target voters.

Opponents say Trump's increasingly extreme resistance to expanded mail-in voting is an attempt to suppress turnout while setting up an excuse to challenge the result if he is defeated.

Facebook's new preventative measures also aim to prevent campaigns and their supporters from making premature claims of victory, as results will not be available the night of the election due to many people voting by mail amid the ongoing pandemic.

Vanita Gupta, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, tweeted that Facebook's moves were "significant improvements and come after much pressure from the civil rights community".

"But everything - any impact - rests on enforcement".

The company will stop the repeated forwarding of messages on WhatsApp, ban new political ads in the week before the election, remove posts that suggest that people will get Covid-19 if they vote, and add an "informational label" to posts that try to delegitimise the election, Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

We're going to block new political and issue ads during the final week of the campaign.

Facebook is taking sweeping precautionary measures ahead of the USA presidential election, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday. Moscow has denied the allegations. Separately, it will also apply similar labels to posts that seek to delegitimize the results.

"This election is not going to be business as usual", Zuckerberg said Thursday about the vote that is now two months away.

Seeking to boost credible information in addition to tamping down misleading posts, Facebook will partner with Reuters to provide news in the social network's Voting Information Center about official results.

Facebook also started limiting its widely-used Messenger service to only allow uses to forward missives to no more than five people or groups at a time "to help curb the efforts of those looking to cause chaos, sow uncertainty or inadvertently undermine accurate information".

Facebook has launched a host of changes meant to protect the upcoming United States election. "But no one should be under any delusions that this will solve all the problems that Facebook poses to our elections".

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