Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to make his case that the social media behemoth is fighting election interference in the U.S. and abroad, said the company is actually fighting voter suppression.
“We’re very focused on preventing voter suppression on our platform. Last year, we changed our policies so we now take down any content that is misleading about when to vote or how to vote — like saying you can vote by text, which of course you can’t do, or saying that voting is on Thursday when of course it’s actually on Tuesday,” Zuckerberg said. “So we’re going to build on this further for 2020 with new policies to prevent… inaccurate voting information. We’re now also going to ban paid advertising that suggests that voting is useless or advises people not to vote at all.”
Facebook has a lot to make up for when it comes to how it handles election season, and it was clear on Monday that Zuckerberg realizes that his company can’t continue to be seen as a tool for bad actors if it wants to stay alive in the market.
Much of this suppression is done through laws that keep people from being able to register to vote in the first place, so Zuckerberg can’t do much about that, but at least voter suppression hopefully won’t extend to Facebook. This is a problem that particularly harms communities of color, who are the most likely to have their vote suppressed, so there is also a racial element here.
Zuckerberg also said the social media website will soon have much more prominent labels featured on false or misleading content, so maybe that’ll help fight the spread of misinformation. It’s going to take a lot of effort for Facebook to be seen as trustworthy when it comes to how it behaves during an election, but this is a step in the right direction.