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Next Time You Read a Facebook Post About Voting, Check Out the Sick Label Underneath

Illustration for article titled Next Time You Read a Facebook Post About Voting, Check Out the Sick Label Underneath

Picture: Drew Angerer (Getty Photographs)

It’s been weeks since Mark Zuckerberg pledged to wipe voter suppression from the web site, thanks, maybe, to a grim inner civil rights audit which referred to as Facebook’s measures to curb voter suppression and racism “reactive and piecemeal,” or, possibly, the advert boycott. How’s it going over there?

Not nice, in keeping with ProPublica. In an inspection of Facebook’s content material aggregator CrowdTangle, the publication discovered that 22 out of the prime 50 posts on Facebook mentioning mail-in voting since April 1st include “false or substantially misleading claims.” These embrace statements similar to “If you mail in your vote, your vote will be in Barack Obama’s fireplace” and “Mail-in ballots guarantee that the Democrats will commit voter fraud.” In response to ProPublica, Facebook has since eliminated these posts. When reached for remark by Gizmodo, a spokesperson for Facebook declined to touch upon the report. I, too, would like to not touch upon the report. However Facebook gained’t observe its personal guidelines, and people guidelines are fairly consequential, so fantastic, I’ll be a cop.

Though Trump has batted round conspiracies like overseas nations printing counterfeit ballots and children “raid[ing] mailboxes,” a Washington Post evaluation of 14.6 million absentee votes in the 2016 and 2018 normal elections uncovered solely 372 potential instances of fraud—a vanishingly low price of 1 poll per 39,250 reliable votes, or .0025%. Whereas there have been latest cases—significantly, in Paterson, New Jersey—of fraud and poll theft by candidates, Trump’s imagined situations are inclined to have no foundation in fact.

In a truth sheet, Facebook claims to have eliminated over 100,000 Facebook and Instagram posts violating their voter interference insurance policies.

The posts ProPublica recognized ought to have already got been eliminated, per Zuckerberg’s promise in late June. He introduced that Facebook will ban all posts that try to discourage folks from voting, like claiming that ICE can be checking papers at polling locations, or threatening to personally patrol voting locations. In fact, politicians get particular guidelines; “newsworthy,” however rule-breaking, posts will embrace “a prompt” mentioning that they violate Facebook’s insurance policies.

However, in a bombshell announcement (a *Facebook* bombshell), Zuckerberg additionally, lastly, drew a line for what politicians can get away with on its platform, writing that there isn’t a newsworthiness exemption for posts which “may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote.” (This was weeks after Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” put up, which is nonetheless dwell.)

At this time, Facebook took a small step additional. Along with the guidelines that would get a politician’s put up dinged, the social community introduced that any politicians’ posts that point out voting or ballots will now embrace a label studying “get voting information” and hyperlinks to usa.gov/voting or usa.gov/absentee-voting, relying on the content material. There can be no fact-checking or judgment, and the rule will diplomatically apply throughout the political and factual spectrum. It is going to appear like this:

Illustration for article titled Next Time You Read a Facebook Post About Voting, Check Out the Sick Label Underneath

Picture: Facebook (Getty Photographs)

Facebook advised Gizmodo that the coverage gained’t apply retroactively, so a Might 20th put up from President Trump, calling the State of Nevada’s mail-in ballots “illegal,” stays with out censure…

…in addition to one other from April stating that “Mail-in ballots considerably will increase the danger of crime and VOTER FRAUD!”

For example of the kind of content material that can be eliminated, Facebook pointed Gizmodo to the Trump marketing campaign adverts masquerading as census surveys which have been banned in March beneath Facebook’s advert insurance policies.

When requested to make clear what rises to the degree of “depriving people of their right to vote,” Facebook pointed us to a June announcement by Zuckerberg, a listing of Facebook insurance policies, and one instance of a banned Trump advert that was solely banned for violating advert insurance policies. No Rosetta Stone.

The label on politicians’ posts seems like an enchancment, however in the context of Facebook’s constant enabling of the president’s dangerous lies, it’s extra like duct tape on a leaky oil tanker. Gizmodo requested Facebook whether or not the president will nonetheless be capable of lie, as long as the subject just isn’t voting, to which Facebook replied that a few of their insurance policies, together with voting interference and inciting violence, supersede “newsworthiness.” This implies that sure, Trump remains to be principally free to lie; he can sustain his risk to shoot protestors, however he most likely can’t do it subsequent time.

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