Mark Zuckerberg gave a town hall update during which he tackled the issue of reviewing Facebook’s policies ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.
The objective of the review is, in his words, “to connect people to authoritative information about voting, to crackdown on voter suppression and to fight hate speech.”
The first change aims at providing more authoritative information empowering more people to register to vote. How to register, how and when you can vote, voting by mail, early voting. All these are especially important during a pandemic when some people may be afraid of going out.
The voting information centre will be shown at the top of both Facebook ánd Instagram.
In the 72 hours leading up to election day, Facebook will work with local election authorities to evaluate any claim regarding voting conditions (e.g. large queues ect).
Facebook are also going to ban posts that make false claims.
Plus, they are creating a higher standard for hateful content and ads.
Zuckerberg underlines that, within this context, there already is a more stringent standard for ads when compared to personal posts.
From today Facebook is going to update its policies in order to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, a specific ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation or caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety or health or survival of other people.
(My comment: shouldn’t have this already be in place?)
Also, ads will be prohibited if they express disgust or contempt at immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers.
Soon Facebook will be labeling content that they leave up because they deem it to be newsworthy (even if some people may find it offensive).
The exception is if Facebook believes that the content will lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote.
All of the above, in the context of many big advertisers pulling their spend from Facebook claiming failure in policing hate speech.