Facebook announced on Thursday that it would ban new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day.
Facebook took its biggest step in the run-up to the November election, announcing that it would enact a range of new policies aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation and interference and this include ban on ads before election day.
- The fact that President Donald Trump has routinely questioned the legitimacy of the mail-in vote.
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, heats both sides of the political spectrum.
- Lawmakers pressed Zuckerberg to improve guidelines to prevent hate speech or misinformation.
- The Centers for Disease Control tells governors to be ready for vaccine distribution by November.
Amid major changes, Facebook announced on Thursday that it would ban new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day.
Also, it plans to intensify measures against positions that encourage people to vote. Finally, after the election, it will silence any attempt to demand a false victory from any candidate.
Why is Facebook taking these steps on ads ahead of election day?
The November 3 election is unlike any other general election in modern American history. Officials predict that mail-in ballots will come in large numbers as an alternative to individuals voting, which is, in some cases, necessary amid the current coronavirus outbreak.
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But election officials will have to count the mail-in votes by hand, which is a slow process. By further expanding the election results, some states will be counting the postmarked votes by election day, even if they do not arrive at election offices days later.
All of these will not be available until days or weeks after November 3 for clear results in presidential, Senate, House or judicial races.
Add to that the fact that President Donald Trump has routinely questioned the legitimacy of the mail-in vote, which he says is fraught with fraud, without evidence. He has refused to get involved in accepting the election results, which has caused concern among Democrats, who fear he will refuse to step down even if his rival, Joe Biden, wins.
But Trump has always used social media as a personal megaphone. As a result, Facebook has decided to prepare in advance for a show announcing victory on stage by a candidate or undeniable source of news, before a clear winner is confirmed.
The Zuckerberg Puzzle
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, heats both sides of the political spectrum for his company’s policies around free speech.
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Earlier this year, lawmakers pressed Zuckerberg to improve guidelines to prevent hate speech or misinformation. But Zuckerberg has refused to go to Twitter, which could mean or eliminate false claims even by the president.
On the contrary, Zuckerberg said that if Trump made a false claim on Facebook, it would be “in the public interest” to keep it.
Still, his tone seems to be changing slightly as the election approaches after a turbulent, unpredictable year.
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In a Facebook post on Thursday, Zuckerberg wrote that polarization in the United States, coupled with the expectation that it could take days or weeks to finalize a clear election result, could lead to “an increased risk of civil unrest across the country.”
Accordingly, he has green listed the new changes on Facebook, which he hopes will reduce some of the confusion that may occur in November.
Dangers in this policy
Facebook seems to be trying to avoid making difficult decisions between the content of the exact verses. This contradicts Zuckerberg’s notion that Facebook is a neutral site, which may have been true when it started at the Harvard Lounge.
In particular, the problem with reducing advertising a week before the election is twofold. First, early voting begins in many states in September, rendering the one-week deadline ineffective.
Second, it leaves unpaid, misinterpretation everywhere, turning Facebook into a medium that drowns out the most moderate views of the most intense views. It becomes the home for the ballots between us.