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Facebook extends ban on political advertising as election alarm rises

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Particularly significant is the indefinite ban on political advertising after Facebook resisted demands for months to remove the ads. Last month the company announced that it would not accept any new political ads until the week leading up to election day, so existing political ads would continue to circulate. New political ads may have been run again after election day.

But Facebook is lagging behind other social media companies in banning political advertising. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, banned all political ads from the service a year ago because, he said, they could spread misinformation quickly and “have a significant impact that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared for.” Last month, Google also announced that it would ban and publish all political ads after election day.

Mr Zuckerberg said ads give lesser-known politicians a chance to advertise themselves, and that getting rid of those ads could hurt their chances of expanding their online support base.

Facebook also said it would rely on a mix of news outlets, including Reuters and The Associated Press, to determine if a candidate won the presidency. Until those news organizations called the race, Facebook said it would place notifications on the news feed to say that no candidate won. This underpins what the company announced last month when it announced it would label posts that users would forward to Reuters if Mr Trump or his supporters falsely claimed an early win.

In order to curb possible intimidation at the ballot box, Facebook also plans to remove posts calling for polls “when those calls use militarized language or imply that the aim is to intimidate, control, or power over election officials to exercise them ”. or voters. “

Mr Trump and others have been talking about watching polls for the past few weeks. In a debate with Mr. Biden last week, Mr. Trump urged his supporters to “go very carefully into the ballot box and watch” on election day. His son, Donald Trump Jr., said he wanted to see an “army for Trump” teeming with polls and expressed concern over threats of ballot box violence.

Facebook, which has been criticized for removing posts unevenly and inconsistently enforcing its policies against toxic content, said it had already removed many posts where people tried to disrupt the vote. Between March and September, she removed more than 120,000 posts from Facebook and Instagram in the United States for violating her voter interference guidelines.

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