Facebook made an announcement that it will not be taking any new political ads in the next seven days before the US election of 3rd November 2020. Notwithstanding, the firm will continue to allow existing ads to be promoted and targeted at different users. The Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed this measure they seek to take in a Facebook post.
He said he was “worried” about divisions in the country which may potentially leads to civil unrest in the country. He added that Facebook will label those posts from candidates attempting to declare victory even before the votes had been completely counted.
The Facebook social media network was faced with criticism for allowing political ads its platform to be “micro-targeted” so that the ads are only seen by small communities of people rather than debated more widely in a wider community immediately they appear. Mozilla Foundation claimed that this kind of acts makes it easy for politicians and their supporters to parade fictious facts. And then avoid being called upon to defend their claims until it is too late. This is particularly as Facebook has previously said it that ads placed by candidates would not be fact-checked.
Taking this new steps on Facebook will serve as a precedent for how they are going to handle any other elections elsewhere in the future.
Further more, Facebook revealed that it will remove any videos of President Trump encouraging voters to vote twice in North Carolina , which is an illegal act.
And it further states that any videos of President Trump’s comments that does not contain contextualize information will be taken down. In the firm’s statement: “This video violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud and we will remove it unless it is shared to correct the record.”
President Trump repeatedly claimed that the election could be “rigged” due to voters’ fraud. However, there is hadn’t been found any evidence of voters’ fraud in the previous polls.
“This election is not going to be business as usual,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote.
“With our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalised, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country,” he said.
So, in an effort to prevent the spread of rumours and deliberate falsehoods on Facebook, the firm decided to implement certain measures as follows:
- No new political ads will be accepted in the next week before the election
- Any posts claiming people will contact Covid-19 if they take part in the voting will be removed
- Labels will be attached to such posts seeking to delegitimise the outcome of the election
- Labels will also be added to posts by candidates that seek to claim victory before the final results are even given.
Mr Zuckerberg also said Facebook has “strengthened” its enforcement policies against any movements known to spread conspiracy theories, such as the QAnon movement. So many Facebook groups associated with this movement were removed. However, this move taken by facebook had attracted criticism.
The Chief of Media Matters for America – which is a liberal media monitoring body. It described this move as being a pointless stunt. “They will still let political ads be rerun and targeted to new groups during [the last] week so long as the ad was run and had one impression before 27 October,” – And this was tweeted by Angelo Carusone.”So, you can run a bad ad now, pause it and then reuse it that week.”
An academist, who specialises on how tech and politics interact made a related point too.”Campaigns will produce and run thousands of pieces of creative in the days before the cut off so they can run the final week,” This was said by Daniel Kreiss, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.