Axios’ morning email thingie tells us…
Mark Zuckerberg tells me for “Axios on HBO” that Facebook is imposing new election rules to deter use of the platform to spread misinformation and even violence, and to help voters see the results as “legitimate and fair.”
- “There is, unfortunately, I think, a heightened risk of civil unrest in the period between voting and a result being called,” Zuckerberg said in an hourlong interview Wednesday.
- “We’re trying to make sure that we do our part to make sure that none of this is organized on Facebook.”
- Zuckerberg said that since the outcome may not be known on election night, Facebook and news organizations need to start “preparing the American people that there’s nothing illegitimate about this election,” even if it takes “additional days or even weeks to make sure that all of the votes are counted.”
- “So we’re going to do a bunch of different messaging around that just to make sure that people know that that’s normal.”
- “I think we need to be doing everything that we can to reduce the chances of violence or civil unrest in the wake of this election.”
Facebook’s new measures, announced yesterday, include forbidding new ads within a week of Election Day (so the other side has time to reply), and throwing a flag on posts by candidates who claim premature victory:
- “We will attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods, for example, by claiming that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud,” Facebook said in its “New Steps to Protect the U.S. Elections.”
- “If any candidate or campaign tries to declare victory before the final results are in, we’ll add a label to their posts directing people to the official results.”
Anyone else think that this might be some sort of passive acknowledgement that Faceberg realizes that Facebook is a right-wing propaganda machine set against our democracy? Bueller? Anyone?
All of this sounds good, but I’m highly suspicious of Faceberg’s deeds matching his words. He’s proven himself to be unreliable at best. That said, he’s also a smart man who knows how to read data. He might be abandoning the SS Shitshow before it goes under.
I’m running late, so here’s a set of links that cover the waterfront on Facebook (I have not read them all yet, but thought they might give a rounder picture:
- The measures won’t change anything. (CNBC)
- Too little, too late. (The Verge)
- The company is paying some people to shut down their accounts so it can study its role in elections. (The Verge)
- Zuckerberg intervened in an internal Facebook debate about Black Lives Matter. (The Daily Beast)
UPDATE 1 :Tiger Beat on the Potomac
ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT … STEVEN OVERLY: “Facebook’s unwillingness to fact-check political ads means that candidates can still promote new misleading statements as long as the ads are in place before Oct. 27. And under Facebook’s new policy, existing ads will be allowed to stay up even during the campaigns’ final week.”
UPDATE 2: Electoral Vote
“…The motives of Facebook in general, and Zuckerberg in particular, are as transparent as ice. They don’t want to be regulated by the government. Full stop. So, they are staging a little “we’re doing our civic duty” kabuki theater in order to try to hold off potential oversight. As a private citizen, Zuckerberg’s philosophy appears to be more in line with the Democrats. As a businessman, however, he believes—probably correctly—that four more years of Trump is much less likely to lead to regulation than four years of Biden. So, you can be very certain that Facebook won’t do anything that would substantially impair the ability of Team Trump to run the exact campaign they want to run. “
(Hat tip: Scissorhead Weird Dave in the comments)