Facebook has announced that it will block new political ads a week before US elections, as part of a new campaign to protect voting integrity. “I’m concerned about the challenges people could face when voting,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. “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.
Zuckerberg said that Facebook will also expand voter suppression policies by removing false information that could cause someone to miss out on the vote. “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,” he said.
Finally, Facebook will temporarily restrict the number of people you can forward links to in Messenger to five per message, a policy that kicked in earlier on August 17th. “I believe our democracy is strong enough to withstand this challenge and deliver a free and fair election — even if it takes time for every vote to be counted,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Facebook is also taking other measures, including putting its Voter Information Center at the top of Facebook and Instagram feeds, showing “accurate, verified information and videos about how to vote. ” It will also use the hub to let US users know that the Presidential victor might not be declared on the night of the election because of delays in counting mail-in ballots.
However, candidates and political actions committees (PACs) would still be able to buy ads for campaigns in the last week, as long as the campaigns started before October 27th. “Those ads will already be published transparently in our Ads Library so anyone, including fact-checkers and journalists, can scrutinize them,” said Zuckerberg.
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