Facebook says it will remove content that ‘intimidates voters’ ahead of the US election

Tech

FILE – This March 29, 2018 file photo, shows the logo for social media giant Facebook at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York’s Times Square. With just two months left until the U.S. presidential election, Facebook says it is taking additional steps to encourage voting, minimize misinformation and reduce the likelihood of post-election “civil unrest.” The company said Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, it will restrict new political ads in the week before the election and remove posts that convey misinformation about COVID-19 and voting. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Facebook said its gearing up for the November election by creating new tools to take down content that “intimidates voters” and will also direct users to verified election results through notifications on Election Day.

The social network made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement posted on Facebook’s website.

“We’ve known for a long time that the 2020 election in the US would be unlike any other. We’ve been preparing for this election with a unique set of products and policies. As we head into the final stretch, we remain focused on two important goals: helping more Americans register and vote, protecting the integrity of the election by fighting foreign interference, misinformation and voter suppression,” the company said in a statement. 

Facebook says it has made “substantial investments, built more teams and have worked with experts and policymakers to focus our efforts in the right places” since the 2016 election cycle. The social media network says its teams worked on more than 200 elections worldwide and has employed more than 35,000 people to work on safety and security measures.

Between March and September of this year alone, Facebook says it has removed more than 120,000 pieces of content from its site and Instagram that violates its “voter interference policies.”

In addition to removing content, Facebook says its also adding another layer of transparency to political advertising through its ad library, including who paid for the ad. The social network also removed about 6.5 billion fake accounts in 2019.

PHOTO: Facebook

On Nov. 3, Facebook users will get a notification and display labels under a candidate’s posts that directs users to the social network’s Voting Information Center. Facebook will let users know who the winner is once major media outlets declare the winner. If the winner hasn’t been declared yet, the user will get a notification that the votes are still being counted.

Facebook said it will also remove content that targets voters with intimidation, including posts that use words such as “battle” or “army” to encourage people to watch poll results.

Facebook and other social media sites have been criticized for not doing enough to safeguard the 2016 U.S. election after Russian trolls disrupted social media with misinformation.

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