Facebook Will Stop Accepting New Political Ads A Week Before the US Presidential Election
The social media giant Facebook Inc. said on Thursday it would stop accepting new political ads in the week before the U.S. election day on Nov. 3, in a series of moves the company billed as its final plan for reducing risks of misinformation and election interference.
“The US elections are just two months away, and with COVID-19 affecting communities across the country, I’m concerned about the challenges people could face when voting,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post announcing the move. “I’m also worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country.”
Other steps announced by Facebook today include:
- Putting the company’s “Voter Information Center” at the top of the Facebook and Instagram feeds. The widget contains accurate, verified information and videos about how to vote, and will remain at the top of the feed until Election Day. It will begin appearing this week for all US users, Facebook said.
- Using the Voter Information Center to educate Americans about the fact that the winner of the presidency may not be declared the night of the election, as mail-in ballots could take days or weeks to be counted.
- Providing live, official election results as they become available through a partnership with Reuters. The information will appear in the Voter Information Center, and Facebook will also deliver updates via push notifications.
- Removing posts that contain “clear misinformation” about COVID-19 and voting.
- Adding a link to accurate information about COVID-19 to posts that attempt to discourage people from voting by invoking fears about the disease.
- Adding a label to any candidate or campaign post that attempts to declare victory before the results are official. The label will direct users to information from Reuters.
- Adding a label to posts that attempt to cast doubt on the outcome of the election.
The company also said it would expand its policies against voter suppression to include “implicit misrepresentations” about the process, even if they don’t discourage voting. The statement “I hear anybody with a driver’s license gets a ballot this year” will no longer be allowed under the expanded policy, Facebook said.