- Mark Zuckerberg said in a USA Today op-ed Facebook has created a new voter information tool, and aims to help get 4 million Americans registered to vote for the 2020 presidential election.
- In the same op-ed he doubled down on his decision not to fact-check politicians on the platform.
- Facebook came under fire in May after it refused to fact-check a post from Trump which falsely claimed mail-in votes would be fraudulent.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to boost turnout to November’s 2020 presidential election by 4 million voters.
In an op-ed in USA Today published Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has engineered a new tool called the Voting Information Center. According to Zuckerberg this will contain: “Authoritative information, including how and when to vote, as well as details about voter registration, voting by mail and information about early voting.”
“We’ll also include posts from state election officials and verified local election authorities. We’ll show this center at the top of the Facebook News Feed and on Instagram to make sure everyone gets a chance to see it,” Zuckerberg added.
In a blog post Facebook said the feature will be available to some users immediately, and roll out to all its US users over the next few weeks.
Zuckerberg said Facebook expects some 160 million users in the US to see the Voting Information Center, and stated its goal is to help get 4 million voters registered in time for the 2020 election — although he did not give details on how Facebook arrived at that figure.
In the same op-ed, Zuckerberg doubled down on Facebook’s decision not to fact-check politicians, a decision which has drawn anger from civil rights groups and Facebook’s own employees.
“Everyone wants to see politicians held accountable for what they say — and I know many people want us to moderate and remove more of their content. We have rules against speech that will cause imminent physical harm or suppress voting, and no one is exempt from them. But accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are saying, even if we viscerally dislike what they say,” wrote Zuckerberg.
This policy of non-intervention recently clashed with Facebook’s assertion that it would fight instances of voter suppression when in late May the company had to decide how to deal with a post by President Trump which falsely claimed mail-in votes in California would be “substantially fraudulent.” Twitter placed a fact-check on the tweet, but Facebook left it intact.
Subsequently Facebook also left up a post in which Trump appeared to threaten the George Floyd protesters in Minneapolis with a post that stated “when the looting starts the shooting starts.” Twitter placed a click-through block on the post, saying it violated its policies on “glorifying violence.” Facebook left the post as-is, drawing huge backlash both internally and from the public.
In his USA Today op-ed, Zuckerberg also announced that users will now be able to disable political ads on their timelines.
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