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Facebook Makes Move to Avoid Post-Election Chaos

'There could be a period of intense claims and counter-claims as the final results are counted'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2020 9:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Facebook says it is worried about civil unrest following a potentially disputed election. And so it is taking steps to help "protect our democracy." In a lengthy Facebook post Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg says the company will ban new "political and issue" ads during the final week before Election Day, Axios reports. It will also ban the editing of existing ads, though advertisers will still be allowed to "adjust the targeting" of ads already running. Zuckerberg says the company will also try to prevent campaigns from declaring victory prematurely. "If any candidate or campaign tries to declare victory before the results are in, we'll add a label to their post educating that official results are not yet in" and directing people to official results made available through a partnership with Reuters, he writes.

"Many experts are predicting that we may not have a final result on election night," Zuckerberg writes. "It's important that we prepare for this possibility in advance and understand that there could be a period of intense claims and counter-claims as the final results are counted." He says Facebook will also remove "clear misinformation" about COVID-19 as it relates to voting (ie, that you'll get it if you try to vote). At the Verge, Casey Newton writes the move "is not likely to placate critics who argue that Facebook’s policy against fact-checking political ads allows it to profit from misinformation." Indeed, CNN's report states that Facebook "will continue to allow politicians to lie in ads," meaning that despite the new ban, candidates will still "be able to run false ads on the platform up until election day." (Read more Facebook stories.)

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