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Facebook to Ban New Political Ads in Week Leading Up to Election

September 4, 2020by Kate Feldman, New York Daily News (TNS)
In this file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about Facebook's News feature at the Paley Center For Media on October 25, 2019, in New York. The social media site will roll out a series of new measures to avoid a repeat of 2016, including banning any new political ads for the week leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

Facebook is trying to learn from its mistakes.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday morning that the social media site will roll out a series of new measures to avoid a repeat of 2016, including banning any new political ads for the week leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3.

“It’s important that campaigns can run get out the vote campaigns, and 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,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Old ads will still be allowed to run.

Facebook will also remove false claims about polling conditions, lies about contracting coronavirus while voting and hide misinformation about how to vote by mail in an attempt to mitigate voter suppression.

Any candidate who tries to declare victory before the official results are in will be tagged with an alert sending readers to Reuters or the National Election Pool, as part of a partnership to ensure accurate reporting of results.

“This election is not going to be business as usual. 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,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg’s announcement comes amid concerns that, like in 2016, Facebook will be a hotbed of misinformation, either a targeted attack or due to lax protocols.

There was no mention in Thursday’s announcement of requiring political ads to be truthful, another repeated criticism of the site.

“I believe our democracy is strong enough to withstand this challenge and deliver a free and fair election — even if it takes time for every vote to be counted. We’ve voted during global pandemics before. We can do this,” Zuckerberg said.

“But it’s going to take a concerted effort by all of us — political parties and candidates, election authorities, the media and social networks, and ultimately voters as well — to live up to our responsibilities. We all have a part to play in making sure that the democratic process works, and that every voter can make their voice heard where it matters most — at the ballot box.”

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©2020 New York Daily News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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