Facebook limits political advertising in the face of U.S. elections

They will also remove messages that convey misinformation about COVID-19 and voting. “We have a responsibility to protect our democracy”.  —  Zuckerberg

WASHINGTON D. C. (Agencies) – With just two months left before the U.S. presidential election, Facebook says it is taking new steps to encourage participation, minimize misinformation and reduce the likelihood of post-election “social unrest”. 

The company said Thursday that it will limit political advertising in the week before the election. It will also remove messages that convey misinformation about COVID-19 and the vote. All messages from candidates and campaigns that prematurely proclaim their victory will include links to the official results.

“This election will not be like any other. We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a message Thursday. “That means helping people register and vote, clearing up confusion about how the election will play out, and taking steps to reduce the chances of violence and unrest”.

Facebook and other social networks are under scrutiny for their handling of misinformation, as President Donald Trump and other candidates publish false information, and as Russia attempts to interfere in U.S. domestic politics as it did in the 2016 election.

Facebook has received a lot of criticism for not verifying information in political advertising or limiting how they are targeted to small groups.

In a divided nation and with results likely to take days or weeks, there is a “growing risk of civil unrest across the country,” Zuckerberg said.