Facebook to label premature election victory claims by candidates



(NEXSTAR) – As part of Facebook’s strategy to fight misinformation on the platform ahead of an election in which the president has already said he wouldn’t publicly commit to accepting the results, the company will be tagging posts by parties and candidates that declare victory for either side.

After polls close in a fraught presidential election that has cities and businesses preparing for the possibility of violent unrest, Facebook and Instagram posts from the candidates will bear notifications directing people to the Voting Information Center.

If a candidate declares victory “before a race is called by major media outlets” the notification will have an additional, clearly sourced explanation that the race has not yet been called. In a statement to Axios, Facebook clarified the process by saying it needs consensus from six media outlets – Associated Press, Reuters, ABC News, Fox News, NBC News and CBS News – to call a race.

If one of the candidates is declared the winner by major media outlets, but the other candidate uses the social platforms to question the results, Facebook will apply a notification with the declared candidate’s name as the victor, along with a link to the Voting Information Center.

Facebook will also apply an informational label to posts questioning the legitimacy of the voting process.

“This label provides reliable information about the integrity of the election and voting methods,” Facebook posted in a news release in October. “We will help people understand the process with notifications at the top of the Facebook and Instagram apps, through Facts About Voting from the Bipartisan Policy Center, and curated news in people’s News Feed and the Voting Information Center.”

The Silicon Valley company says it will ban posts that could be seen as intimidating to election officials and voters, along with steps already being taken to pull down coordinated interference attempts “when we become aware of them.”

“We will also remove calls for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters,” Facebook stated, ensuring that they will continue to work with federal, state and local law enforcement officials to protect the election.

For Facebook, the protections are not unlike the actual plywood being screwed into place to protect businesses in the nation’s capitol ahead of the election. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s platform has been battling Russian influence in U.S. society and the country’s elections, trying to weed out posts about the QAnon conspiracy theory and trying to convince its users to trust the company after Trump-affiliated Cambridge Analytica improperly siphoned the identities of 87 million people.

Meantime, President Trump, who has already admitted to blocking money to the U.S. Postal Service to undermine the voting process, said Monday in Pennsylvania that “we’re going in with our lawyers” to try to stop the battleground state from counting mailed-in ballots received after the election.

Trump’s statement follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision not to block an extension ensuring that ballots received before Nov. 6 – as long as there is not proof that they were mailed after polls closed – would be counted.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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