Facebook has been criticized for its seemingly lax attitude towards the spread of misinformation, but on Thursday the social media company announced it’s taking steps to prevent it ahead of the presidential election by prohibiting new political ads on the platform in the week prior to Election Day and flagging any posts making premature declarations of victory.
“This election is not going to be business as usual,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “I’m 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.” Despite his concern, he added that “our democracy is strong enough to withstand this challenge and deliver a free and fair election.”
Zuckerberg said he made the decision to limit political ads in the final week before the election in part due to the expected delays in tallying election results thanks to the pandemic.
“It’s important that we prepare for this possibility in advance and understand that there could be a period of intense claims and counterclaims as the final results are counted,” he wrote.
Facebook also said it will attach a label to any false or premature claims of victory by candidates. The label will reportedly direct users to vote tallies and current results in hopes of combating misinformation.
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