Facebook has always been enthusiastic about social and community events. It also plays a huge role in encouraging the youth to vote in a safe and secure way. Therefore, this social giant has added some additional steps to secure the probity of the US elections besides connecting people to authoritative information and reducing the risks of post-election confusion.
Mark Zuckerberg has introduced the additional steps taken by Facebook through his post on September 3rd. Due to COVID 19, the whole world is going through a tough phase. Facebook is surely making efforts to help people in every way possible. In recent times, the election is a hot topic in the US and the false news and information have become a serious concern for the Facebook team.
Steps to be taken
In order to protect democracy, Facebook has buckled up to fight misinformation and provide authoritative information to the citizens. Facebook has also taken suggestions from the voting rights experts and our civil rights auditors to come up with the following steps:
- Authoritative information from the Voting Information Center will be put at the top of Facebook and Instagram almost every day until the election. This will include video tutorials on how to vote by mail and information on deadlines for registering and voting in an individual state.
Facebook will also be blocking new political and issue ads during the final week of the campaign. In the week before the election, Facebook won’t accept new political or issue ads. Advertisers will be able to continue running ads they started running before the final week and adjust the targeting for those ads only. However, those ads will already be published transparently in the Ads Library so anyone, including fact-checkers and journalists, can scrutinize them.
Working with the state election authorities, Facebook already identifies and removes false claims about polling conditions in the last 72 hours of the campaign. This time, it will start doing the procedure immediately and continue through the election until it has a clear result.
The team will also limit the number of chats you can forward a message to at one time in order to reduce the risk of misinformation and harmful content going viral.
- Facebook will also remove posts with claims that people will get Covid-19 if they take part in voting. Along with it, it will attach a link to authoritative information about Covid-19 to posts that might use the virus to discourage voting.
- It is also working on expanding the voter suppression policies to remove explicit misrepresentations about how or when to vote that could cause someone to lose their opportunity to vote.
For the people who will be voting through the mail, the Facebook team is also coming up with solutions to help them to calm down and to have the right information about the results.
- As Facebook is partnering with Reuters and the National Election Pool to provide authoritative information about election results, with any kind of leak of information there will be a label added to those certain posts.
- It will use the Voting Information Center to prepare people for the possibility that it may take a while to get official results. This information will help people understand that there is nothing illegitimate about not having a result on election night.
- Facebook will attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods.
The team will enforce their violence and harm policies more broadly by expanding the definition of people of high-risk to include election officials in order to help prevent any attempts to pressurize or harm them, especially while they’re fulfilling their critical obligations to oversee the vote counting.
Lastly, Facebook has already strengthened its enforcement against militias, conspiracy networks like QAnon, and other groups that could be used to organize violence or civil unrest in the period after the elections.
These actions are not only taken by Facebook. Social platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram have already had some of these policies activated by the team. These days, people are already stressing out and panicking about the circumstances and the uncertainty of their lives. Facebook is certainly doing something great to keep the hopes up and the people safe. But, will Zuckerberg and his team be able to handle the situation as smoothly as possible? Share your thoughts with us.