Meta is working to fight election misinformation in the upcoming midterms.
Facebook has announced plans for quelling misinformation in the upcoming midterm elections. Meta president Nick Clegg revealed the company’s plans in a blog post on Tuesday.
“Meta has developed a comprehensive approach to how elections play out on our platforms. With the 2022 U.S. midterms on the horizon, we are setting out how our approach applies in this election cycle, which is largely consistent with the policies and safeguards we had in place during the 2020 US Presidential election,” says Clegg.
Why it’s news
Facebook has faced a lot of criticism for the way that social media has facilitated major political upheaval in the United States and across the world. The platform has been criticized for being used to spread misinformation and facilitate real-world gatherings such as the Stop the Steal event on January 6, 2021.
“Meta has a controversial policy of not fact-checking political ads. The company has debated internally on how to handle political ads for years, with criticism flaring after the 2016 U.S. election when Facebook and Instagram unwittingly sold ads to Russian trolls trying to sow discord among U.S. voters. Facebook also came under fire during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, which was organized in part on Facebook and fueled by false claims of an illegitimate election,” says Bloomberg.
Meta’s policies may similarly affect the 2024 presidential election. Former President Donald Trump is still suspended on Facebook, which may affect his reelection chances. “Facebook suspended Trump last January after the company said he violated the incitement violence policy during the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Facebook later made a decision that Trump will remain suspended until at least 2023, and will make a determination on his ability to get back on the platform at that time,” says The Hill.
Backing up a bit
Meta has spent $5 billion on safety and security and hired 40 teams with hundreds of employees to focus on the U.S. midterms.
The company will be pausing all new political advertisements in the final week before the election, removing posts with misinformation pertaining to methods, locations, and times for voting, curbing hate speech, removing false claims about voter eligibility, and removing calls for violence or criminal activity. It will also reject ads that encourage people not to vote or question election legitimacy, according to Ground News.
“We’re continuing to connect people with details about voter registration and the election from their state election officials through Feed notifications and our Voting Information Center,” says Clegg.
“Our teams fight both foreign interference and domestic influence operations, and have exposed and disrupted dozens of networks that have attempted to interfere with U.S. elections. We’ve banned more than 270 white supremacist organizations and removed 2.5 million pieces of content tied to organized hate globally in the first quarter of 2022. Of the content we removed, nearly 97% of it was found by our systems before someone reported it,” says Clegg.