Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post announcing the changes that he was concerned about the unique challenges voters would face due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted a surge in voting by mail. “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,” he said.
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.
Disinformation experts have also raised the alarm, echoed in threat assessments by Facebook executives, about false claims and conspiracy theories spreading in the increasingly likely scenario that official results are not immediately available on election night.
Zuckerberg has previously defended his decision to allow for a freewheeling political conversation on Facebook, including through paid ads, which the company exempts from its fact-checking program with external partners, including Reuters.
Zuckerberg said Facebook was “increasingly seeing attempts to undermine the legitimacy of our elections from within our own borders” in addition to foreign influence campaigns, like the one it and U. S. intelligence agencies determined Russia carried out to meddle in the 2016 vote.