In recent months, the conversation of political advertising on social platforms has become a large one. Many people have voiced their opinions about the decision on Facebook’s part to continue to show political advertisements, many of which have been accused of promoting disinformation. Mark Zuckerburg, CEO and Founder of Facebook, has long taken the stance that Facebook would not police political speech. However, after intense public scrutiny in more recent weeks, Facebook is finally making changes to their stance on political advertising.
This month, Facebook announced that they would allow users based within the United States to opt out of seeing ads about social issues or political ads from candidates or political action committees in their Facebook or Instagram feeds. The move comes in response to the harsh criticism Facebook has received about its lack of moderation for political ads and how it contributes to a dangerous political landscape that has been accused of spreading disinformation to the general public. While Facebook does offer a political library that is intended to increase transparency by allowing users to track the messages that are circulating, many have complained that this isn’t enough.
In addition to making it an option for users to now opt out completely from political messaging, Facebook has also announced the addition of a voting information center on its platform.
According to Emily Dalton, a director of social impact products at Facebook, “COVID is going to make it really difficult for people to understand what’s going on and how to vote,” so the platform has offered its own solution to the problem. The new voting center is expected to roll out to users based in the United States soon and will be accessible at the top of a user’s newsfeed on both Facebook and Instagram.
The voting information center will include details on when and how to vote, offer information on how to register to vote, provide updates on early voting and even vote-by-mail options. Facebook has taken a strong interest in getting the population out and voting on election day, and it is estimated that half of the U.S. population would see information on how to vote in the November elections with the new tools implemented by the platform.
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