Facebook chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled new measures to restrict the spread of misleading comments and politically-biased lies on Facebook before the United States presidential election on 3rd November 2020. Zuckerberg said that he was “worried” but the election would not “be business as usual”.
He added, "With our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalised, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country.”
Facebook has been heavily criticised for allowing political ads to be "micro-targeted” and for failing to fact check adverts placed by candidates. The newly implemented measures will freeze political adverts before the US presidential election and remove posts endorsing false rumors such as claiming people will get COVID-19 if they vote.
Zuckerberg vowed that Facebook had “strengthened” its policies to ensure conspiracy theories such as QAnon were not allowed to spread.
However, critics describe the measures as “a pointless PR stunt” and that the flaws of measures would be exposed as pre-existing ads may be rerun to target new groups of users.
Globally, Facebook faces similar criticism; in August, a smear campaign linked to the Cambodian government conducted on the platform, prompted an activist Buddhist monk into exile to protect himself. In addition, it has been scrutinised for its role in anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka, for which they issued an apology.
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