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Facebook announces new policies to counter voter suppression during elections

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  • 3 min read

The US mid-term elections are around the corner and in order to do their best to not hinder the election process while aiding those who wish to deter or people from voting, Facebook has broadened its policies against voter suppression.

As part of this effort, Facebook aims to prevent anyone from misusing the social media platform during the upcoming elections.

Since after the 2016 US Presidential elections, they’ve already prohibited posts that offer to buy or sell votes or that misrepresent the time, date, location and qualifications of casting a vote.

Facebook's new policies to counter voter suppression during elections

“Last month, we extended this policy further and are now banning misrepresentations about how to vote, such as claims that you can vote by text message, and statements about whether a vote will be counted,” Jessica Leinwand, Public Policy Manager stated.

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Facebook has also updated the way people can report a post as it now adds the option of ‘incorrect voting info’ in addition to ‘nudity’, ‘violence’, ‘hate speech’ and more.

The social media giant also said that they’re aware of the fact that some posts that are reported to them might also require additional on-ground review, which their team isn’t equipped to perform — like verify claims about the condition of polling locations around the world that might have been closed due to natural or other causes.

Towards that end, such content that can’t be verified by Facebook’s team directly will be sent to third-party checker for review.

“Content that is rated false will be ranked lower in News Feed, and accompanied by additional information written by our fact-checkers (what we call, Related Articles) on the same subject.”

“I want to ensure we’re doing everything possible to understand the different ways adversaries can abuse our services — as well as the impact of these services on elections and democracy overall,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.

“We set up an independent election research commission earlier this year with academics and foundations. Its role is to identify research topics and select — through a peer-review process — independent research to study them. We’ve worked with industry experts to ensure this is done in a way that protects everyone’s privacy.”

Also read: What happens to your Facebook account when you die?


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