According to The New York Times, the social network is preparing if Trump denies the election results of the November presidential election.
NEW YORK U.S. (The New York Times) – Facebook plans actions in case U.S. President Donald Trump does not accept the outcome of the November election if he is defeated, including a possibility of disabling all political advertising to curb infodemics in the election.
In a report published Friday, The New York Times quotes sources knowledgeable about these plans. It assures that Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and some of his collaborators hold daily meetings on how to minimize the risk of the social network being used to litigate the election result.
Among the more concrete measures that have been discussed is that after November 3, all political ads will be blocked if the election result is not clear from the outset or if Trump does not accept it. In recent weeks, the president of the United States has insisted, without proof, that the postal vote, which is expected to be massive because of the coronavirus pandemic, will lead to electoral fraud.
The Democratic opposition and many analysts believe that Trump may be paving the way for an appeal against the outcome of the election if he does not win. Besides, since many more postal votes are expected, it is considered likely that the results of many constituencies will not be known quickly, increasing uncertainty and questions about the outcome.
In a recent interview with the Times, Zuckerberg said the population must be prepared “for the fact that the recount will most likely take days or weeks and that there is nothing wrong or illegitimate about it”. Given this situation, Facebook is working on different scenarios, which according to the newspaper’s sources, include the possibility that Trump will defend on social media platforms, in a false way or try to invalidate the results due to alleged fraud.
Facebook has been heavily criticized in recent years for its role in spreading falsehoods, especially after it and other networks were used by Russian operatives to divide and influence the U.S. electorate in the 2016 election.
Companies such as Twitter have decided, for example, to eliminate all political propaganda or to mark messages from the president with ads when they contain falsehoods. Still, Facebook has preferred not to do so, defending the importance of freedom of expression and the awareness of what political leaders are saying.
Donald Trump warned Friday that the results of the presidential election “could take weeks or months to determine” amid concerns that a wave of mail ballots, due to the coronavirus pandemic, could overwhelm the post office and local electoral bodies”, Trump suggested that the traditional definition of election night could be delayed.
“They will never have an election count on November 3,” Trump said in a speech to the National Policy Council, a conservative activist group. “They’re not going to know the outcome of this election, in my opinion, for weeks, months, maybe ever,” he said.
The prospect of a slow count of the 50 million votes expected to be cast by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic has raised concerns about political contingencies and legal challenges that could further delay the results for both the president and Congress.
Trump, who runs in the polls behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden, has said Democrats were promoting universal mail ballots to manipulate the results. But he also suggested an inability of the system.
“We’re not ready for this, 51 million ballots. It will be a great shame to the country. This is a severe problem for a democracy,” he said. On Wednesday, a senior U.S. election security official said his biggest concern is outside interference in a likely vote count the day after the November 3 election.
While the interference of Russia, China, Iran, and others in the run-up to the election is unsettling, “I’m concerned about election day,” said Bill Evanina, director of the National Center Counterintelligence and Security. Besides, he said outside actors could use mechanisms such as ransomware and other cyber attacks against the infrastructure for delivering, counting, and transmitting votes. “We need to prepare as a nation for (the possibility) that the elections will not be decided on November 3. I’m concerned that we may not be up to the challenge of the election. From an influence perspective, I’m concerned about the prospect of interference between November 3 and 4 and through November,” Evanina said.
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