Facebook and other social media platforms have a unique set of concerns heading into the 2020 election, as the digital realm looks to play a major role in the aftermath of this testy campaign.
Of course, having any private company working in the political realm is a recipe for controversy, and Facebook is certainly no stranger to complaints. During the run-up to 2020, the platform was routinely dragged for what appeared to be an anti-conservative slant. In 2020, Facebook has received plenty of criticism for its unwillingness to censor political advertising, even if those ads were considered to be toeing the line between truth and hyperbole.
Facebook is sure to catch some flak again this week, as they announce a series of new initiatives that could directly impact the 2020 election.
Facebook announced Thursday it will ban new political ads from running in the week before the Nov. 3 presidential election.
The action is narrow, banning only political ads submitted in the week before the election but still allowing those submitted before Oct. 27.
And that’s not all…
In addition to the new restriction, Facebook said it will link any post from a candidate attempting to declare victory before the final results are in to vote counts from Reuters and the National Election Pool.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the changes, despite some of the confusion that still exists about what will be allowed.
Facebook also said it would take down posts on the social network that attempt to discourage people from voting by claiming they’ll catch Covid-19 if they go to the polls. For other posts that “might use Covid-19 to discourage voting,” Facebook said it would attach a link to “authoritative information” about the pandemic. In a post to his Facebook page Thursday, Zuckerberg said the company will block ads that use the coronavirus pandemic to discourage voting.
In short, user-submitted posts using Covid-19 to discourage voting will still be allowed on Facebook, unless they explicitly say you’ll catch Covid-19 by voting. But people won’t be able to pay Facebook for ads to spread the message.
Posts that attempt to deligitimize the results of the election or legal voting methods, such as voting by mail, will still be allowed but will be labeled with more information about voting, Zuckerberg said.
The closer we get to the 2020 election, the more confusing this is all becoming.
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