American citizens are gearing up to cast their votes as the US Presidential election starts taking place early next month. During these critical times, it becomes extremely important that the integrity of the election is maintained and Facebook, with a bunch of announcements has tried to ensure the same on its platforms. These new measures aim to curb poll watching, misinformation and false political ads during and after the elections.
Firstly, Facebook has called for a ban on all the content on its platform that ‘calls for people to engage in poll-watching when those calls use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over elected officials or voters’. This means that any post encouraging users to show up armed at polling centers or calls for coordinated interference in the election process will be brought down by Facebook. However, this new policy only applies to new posts being added and won’t affect already existing posts.
This is a move that follows a recent video post by Donald Trump Jr. calling his supporters to join in the ‘army for Trump election security operation’. Trump’s election campaign has repeatedly called for an army for Trump who will work as poll watchers on election day.
Facebook is further taking steps to restrict voter intimidation on its platform. Facebook said, if it identifies potential voter interference on its platform, it will investigate and take an action on it immediately. The social media giant will establish ‘strong channels of communication’ to deal with election-related threats.
Moreover, the company has announced some new features that will appear live on the election day, i.e. November 3, across both Facebook and Instagram. To avoid confusion regarding the live results on election day, Facebook and Instagram will feature a notification bar at the top of the respective applications to provide live results of the election. This notification bar will update users with all the information regarding the counting process.
For example, if a candidate declares a premature victory, the notification bar will say that the counting is still in process and no winner has been determined. When there’s clarity over a winning candidate during the counting process, the notification bar will prompt saying the respective candidate ‘is the projected winner’.
Facebook will also add links and labels to its ‘Voting Infirmation Center’ wherever it feels necessary, including the notification bar. Facebook said, after the polling ends, all the posts posted by a candidate will carry a label with the link to its Voting Information center.
The company is also taking an additional step in its approach to political ads. It said it will not allow any political ads after the elections to avoid any kind of misinformation or false claims being spread. Guy Rosen, Facebook Vice President of Integrity said, “While ads are an important way to express voice, we plan to temporarily stop running all social issue, electoral, or political ads in the U.S. after the polls close on November 3, to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse.”
There is also a new viral content review system that targets any post that might contain misinformation or false claims before it gets viral. This tool will help the company close down on all the fake news posts during the election time, something which it has been trying to do for very long now.
These new measures from Facebook were much needed as misinformation and fake news continues to grow on the platform. After receiving wide criticisms regarding its policies towards election content and failure to form an oversight board in time, these new features might help Facebook retain its reputation in keeping the integrity of the election.