Facebook is taking drastic measures to prevent a repeat of what happened in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential elections. The social media platform will now ban political ads once the polls have closed on Election Day, November 3.
This will be in addition to many moves that Facebook has already taken such as banning QAnnon from the platform and suspending users for posting fake news stories.
The reason for the move is the fear that they election results might be contested. Remember Florida in 2000 everybody?
Questions about the validity of the election results have already been spread by President Trump himself. The President has repeatedly stated that he will only accept the results of a “free and fair election, whatever that means. And he has also called into question the validity of the numerous mail in ballots that will be used this year.
The President’s opponents have accused him of making these comments only so that he can have an excuse not to accept the election results should he lose. They say that President Trump fears that most mail in votes – more necessary this year as the Covid-10 pandemic has left many afraid of waiting in line at the polls – will come from people who are voting against him. For this reason, and his general fear of losing the election, President Trump’s detractors maintain that he is making unsubstantiated and false claims about the election being somehow “rigged.”
This is why Facebook, and most political commentators, are concerned about what will happen should the first returns on election night show a tight race. Many Democrats and Joe Biden supporters say that he will need to win in a landslide – which would include carrying a number of solidly Republican states – to prevent The President from contesting the election.
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, said in a blog post, “While ads are an important way to express voice, we plan to temporarily stop running all social issue, electoral or political ads in the US after the polls close on November 3, to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse. We will notify advertisers when this policy is lifted,”
He added he following explanation of the situation:
“Getting the final election results this year may take longer than previous elections due to the pandemic and more people voting by mail. So we’re preparing a range of policies and products to keep people informed and prevent the spread of misinformation. “
“For example, when polls close, we will run a notification at the top of Facebook and Instagram and apply labels to candidates’ posts directing people to the Voting Information Center for more information about the vote-counting process. But, if a candidate or party declares premature victory before a race is called by major media outlets, we will add more specific information in the notifications that counting is still in progress and no winner has been determined.”