Facebook on Thursday said it won’t accept new political ads the week before the November election and will clearly label content that it says is seeking to “delegitimize” the election’s outcome.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will extend its work with election officials to remove “misinformation about voting.”
“We will remove posts with claims that people will get COVID-19 if they take part in voting,” he said. “Given the unique circumstances of this election, it’s especially important that people have accurate information about the many ways to vote safely, and that COVID-19 isn’t used to scare people into not exercising their right to vote.”
Analysts have predicted that President Trump and the Republicans could build a lead immediately after polls close on Election Day but that Democrats could make up ground in the days and weeks after Nov. 3 because of the party’s emphasis on voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.
“There could be a period of intense claims and counter-claims as the final results are counted,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
The company said that if any candidate or campaign tries to declare victory before the final results are in, they’ll add a label to their posts directing people to official results from Reuters and the National Election Pool.
Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook will use its Voting Information Center “to prepare people for the possibility that it may take a while to get official results” and said the information will help people understand that “there is nothing illegitimate about not having a result on election night.”
He said Facebook has strengthened its enforcement against “militias, conspiracy networks like QAnon, and other groups that could be used to organize violence or civil unrest in the period after the elections.”
Mr. Zuckerberg said they took down a network of 12 accounts and two pages last week trying to “mislead Americans and amplify divisions.”
“We’ve removed more than 100 networks worldwide engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior over the past couple of years, including ahead of major democratic elections,” he said. “However, we’re increasingly seeing attempts to undermine the legitimacy of our elections from within our own borders.”