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Facebook blocking new political ads ahead of election

Facebook blocking new political ads ahead of election

by Justin Wise I The Hill  |  Published on September 3, 2020

Facebook on Thursday announced that it would ban new political advertisements from its platform in the week leading up to the November election as part of an effort to combat misinformation about voting.

The step is one of a series of moves Facebook said it planned to take in order to “secure the integrity of the this year’s elections.” The company additionally said it would remove posts falsely saying people can develop the coronavirus by voting and will attach “information labels” to other content attempting to delegitimize voting methods or the election’s outcome.

And in the event that a candidate declares victory before the final results are in, the company will add labels to the posts directing people to authoritative information, Facebook said.

“This election is not going to be business as usual,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy. That means helping people register and vote, clearing up confusion about how this election will work, and taking steps to reduce the chances of violence and unrest.”

Facebook has faced continual scrutiny over its policies on political advertisements in recent years, with many Democrats criticizing its lack of fact-checking.

Zuckerberg said campaigns will be able to run ads during the week leading up to the election that were already running on the platform. But he acknowledged that there may not be enough time to scrutinize new ads for veracity when the election is so close.

“I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims,” he said.

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