“This video violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud and we will remove it unless it is shared to correct the record,” a company spokesperson said.
On Wednesday, in a visit to Wilmington, NC, Trump said that voters should test the state’s vote-by-mail efforts by voting once by mail and then another time in person.
“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if the system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” Trump said.
Facebook also put a label on one of Trump’s posts about the topic. “Voting by mail has a long history of trustworthiness in the U.S. and the same is predicted this year,” the note read. It was sourced to the Bipartisan Policy Center.
PREVIOUSLY: Facebook said that it would not take political advertising the week before the Nov. 3 election, the latest step the platform is taking amid criticism that it has been a source of rampant disinformation.
The policy applies only to new political and issue ads. Those that campaigns started running before the final week can continue.
The company also outlined other steps to try to stem confusion, including attaching labels to content that “seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods,” including claims that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud. Already, President Donald Trump has claimed that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud, falsely asserting that some states are sending voters ballots en masse when in fact they are being given applications to obtain mail in ballots.
Facebook also said that if any candidate tries to declare victory before the final results are in, it will add a label to their posts directing users to the official results from Reuters and the National Election Pool. There is a concern that a victory will be declared based on in-person voting, when states have yet to tabulate massive numbers of mail-in ballots. That can make a huge difference in the outcome and take several days or even weeks.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced the policy on Thursday and appeared on CBS This Morning, where he told co-anchor Gayle King that “we’re going to take this seriously and make sure that people aren’t declaring victory and saying any kind of ongoing counting of votes is evidence of a rigged election or anything like that.”
Facebook also said that it would remove posts that claim that people will get the coronavirus if they take part in voting.
Zuckerberg has been criticized for not taking greater steps to root out misinformation on his platform, like a refusal to ban political ads outright as Twitter did last year, or to monitor them for fact-checking purposes. “I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians and the news,” Zuckerberg said during an earnings call last year. The policy to allow ads without fact checks will remain the same.
Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post that the rationale behind banning new ads in the final week is that “there may not be enough time to contest new claims.”
Still, Facebook’s latest moves did not temper concerns among some progressive groups.
Tara McGowan, CEO of ACRONYM, said in a statement, “A weeklong blackout of new political ad creative before the most important election in our nation’s history is a shallow and dangerous public relations move, not a solution to the spread of election misinformation and violence-inciting hate speech that has proliferated under Facebook’s watch.”
Instead, she said that the policy will actually prevent campaigns from responding to posts from right-wing media personalities, which are not ads yet often are ranked among Facebook’s most-viewed posts.
“When the ability to run new ads are taken off the table, the only pages that can reach and influence Americans at any meaningful scale are those with the largest organic followings on the platform,” she said. “Who are those pages? Fox News, Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, to name just a few.”
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