Facebook Bans False Claims About Voting Ahead Of Midterms

The company is also asking users to report false content about voting requirements.

Facebook is ramping up efforts to stop the spread of misinformation on its site. On Monday, the company announced it will ban false information about voting requirements and other fake content designed to suppress voter turnout, ahead of the midterm elections next month.

As outlined in the company's blog, Facebook is now "banning misrepresentations about how to vote, such as claims that you can vote by text message, and statements about whether a vote will be counted." It's also allowing a new option for users to report when they see false or incorrect voting information. State election authorities will be able to report misinformation to the company as well via a separate dedicated reporting channel.

Reported posts that require additional review will sent to third-party fact-checkers. According to Facebook, "Content that is rated false will be ranked lower in News Feed, and accompanied by additional information written by our fact-checkers (what we call, Related Articles) on the same subject."

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Over the past several years,Facebook has faced intensive scrutiny for its lax approach to fighting the spread of fake news or inflammatory campaigns, which many believe impacted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. In April, founder Mark Zuckerberg, who initially dismissed the idea that the platform played a role in influencing the election,testified before Congress about Russian manipulation of Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaigns.

COO Sheryl Sandberg also appeared before Congress to discuss foreign interference on the company's site in September.

In recent months, the company has taken several new measures to help proactively identify and remove false information from its site. This latest move comes only weeks after Facebook launched a pilot program offering additional security measures for the accounts of any user associated with state or federal campaigns.

"In 2016, we were not prepared for the coordinated information operations we now regularly face," Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post titled "Preparing for Elections" in September. "But we have learned a lot since then and have developed sophisticated systems that combine technology and people to prevent election interference on our services."

He also added, "This effort is part of a broader challenge to rework much of how Facebook operates to be more proactive about protecting our community from harm and taking a broader view of our responsibility overall."

Cover image via JaysonPhotography / Shutterstock.com.


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