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Monday, November 30, 2020

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As the US President is still refusing to approve that he will provide peaceful transactions of power, if he lost the elections, Facebook has updated its rules this week about wrong claims about political ads related to election fraud and results.

According to Facebook’s Rob Leathern:

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“Last week, we said that we would prohibit ads that make premature declarations of victory. We also won’t allow ads with content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of an election or example, this would include calling a method of voting inherently fraudulent or corrupt, or using isolated incidents of voter fraud to delegitimize the result of an election.”

As stated above, Facebook announced official rules and measures about any potential false claims of victory by Facebook ads, which may basically see candidates utilize Facebook’s huge reach to delegitimize the official poll results. However, now, Facebook is also planning to fight claims that some voting processes are very capable to be manipulated.

As noted, the measures are almost particularly related to President Trump’s comments. For example, in the election debate’s first week, Trump repeated that:

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“As far as the ballots are concerned, it’s a disaster. […] It’s a rigged election.”

Trump has criticized the process of voting many times. Also, the privileges that have made to accommodate mail-in voting which align with official health suggestions to fight the spread of COVID-19.

However, in spite of Trump’s reservations, the investigations have discovered that fraud is very rare in main-in votes. Facebook is working based on that advice to fight false claims in its ads.

However, the problem is that this applies only to Facebook Ads. Politicians and candidates still are able to make claims in organic posts (yet some will be checked by the fact-checking warnings), and as Facebook is banning any new political ads within the campaign’s final week. Anyway, these limitations might not go as far as in stopping false claims completely.

For example, President Trump has over 31M followers on Facebook, and the Democratic candidate Joe Biden has more than 3M. So, both of them have a big reach on their platforms without even using ads, which Facebook’s rules are applied.

Other than the paid ads, it is difficult to figure out what Facebook is going to or not allow, with constant Page posts from both candidates taking a more permissive stand. Facebook’s point of view is that it has to restrict its involvement in this to let people have their own decisions based on what is posted. However, that may mean that some dangerous comments are happening with no restriction.

That reduces the impact of these measures somehow, however, Facebook implementing rules about these things outlines a lot of concerns on the potential divisiveness in the elections.

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