Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg put out a post today in relation to the upcoming Presidential elections in the United States. He Highlighted the measures that Facebook will be adopting in order to encourage voting and to discourage misinformation. Expressing concern over the challenges that people might face while voting during the elections that are scheduled to take place in November, he said that he and his wife have personally donated $300 million to non-partisan organisations supporting states and local counties in strengthening the voting infrastructure.
In order to ensure that people receive authentic information, Facebook will be posting authoritative information including tutorials through mails on how to vote and the deadlines of registration and voting in different States from their Voting Information Centre at the top of Facebook and Instagram every day till the elections. Zuckerberg said that he believed that the antidote to bad speech is more speech but in the last phases of the election campaign there is not enough time contest new issues. Therefore, Facebook will not accept any new political or issue advertisements. However, the ads that will be started running before the final week of the elections will be allowed to continue. These ads will be available in the Ads Library of the Facebook open for anyone including fact-checkers to scrutinise.
He told that he will be working in partnership with the election officials and state election authorities to identify and remove misinformation regarding voting. To further curb misinformation, forwarding on Facebook messenger will also be limited. He said that this method has been tried and tested on WhatsApp. He said that rules will be set to get rid of any claims or misinformation that might threaten people that they would get infected with Covid-19 if they go to vote.
Zuckerberg said that the election result might take some time to come out and the period after voting and before the result will be a heated period. Therefore, Facebook will take various measures in order to keep people posted about authoritative information regarding election results. For this Facebook is partnering with the Reuters and the National Election Pool.
Facebook will also expand its violence and harm policies by including election officials in the definition of high-risk people to prevent them against any pressure or harm. He also highlighted that Facebook will be dealing with an iron hand with any attempts of foreign governments or organisation to interfere in the US Presidential elections. He said that the security teams have been prepped up and a3 networks and 2 pages have already been removed as part of this measure.
Notably, Facebook has, of late, been at the centre of heated exchanges between the ruling BJP and the opposition parties in India where both have accused the social media giant of influencing elections and favouring the other.