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Facebook adds option for US users to turn off political ads, launches voting info hub

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Facebook adds option for US users to turn off political ads, launches voting info hub

Beginning at this time, Facebook customers within the U.S. could have the choice to “flip off” all political promoting on the platform. The firm made the controversial determination to not fact-check or in any other case reasonable political advertisements final 12 months, however the brand new characteristic will give customers extra management over what they see—not less than for customers who determine to flip the brand new setting to “off.”

Facebook made the announcement Tuesday in a weblog publish and an op-ed from Mark Zuckerberg. The publish famous that the corporate initially introduced the brand new choice in January however would now add it to the platform because it prepares for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The choice will seem instantly for some U.S. customers, rolling out extra broadly within the subsequent few weeks. The choice to disable political advertisements will apply to political, electoral, and social concern advertisements from candidates, Super PACs and different teams. The choice will pop up for customers immediately on any political advert throughout Facebook and Instagram or by both platform’s advert settings.

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“By giving individuals a voice, registering and turning out voters, and stopping interference, I consider Facebook is supporting and strengthening our democracy in 2020 and past,” Zuckerberg wrote in USA Today. “And for these of you who’ve already made up your minds and simply need the election to be over, we hear you — so we’re additionally introducing the flexibility to show off seeing political advertisements. We’ll nonetheless remind you to vote.”

Facebook might have beforehand introduced its intention to permit customers to see fewer political advertisements, however the language in its weblog publish from the start of this 12 months mentioned solely that it might add a setting to let individuals see “fewer” political advertisements—not flip them off altogether as the corporate is asserting now. The January publish additionally defended the corporate’s determination to not fact-check political advertisements or restrict its intensive advert concentrating on instruments.

In the educational video the corporate offered, the setting provides to point out customers “fewer advertisements about this subject” relatively than disable them completely. We’ve requested Facebook to elucidate the discrepancy.

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Last week, presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden referred to as on the corporate to fact-check its political promoting within the two weeks operating as much as the U.S. election. While Facebook’s added choice is a small change, it’s nonetheless a uncommon concession for critics of its stubbornly laissez-faire view of political advertisements on its platform.

Biden slams Facebook for letting Trump run wild and calls for coverage adjustments in open letter

 

Facebook plans to make the brand new setting out there past the U.S. “in international locations the place now we have enforcement on advertisements about social points, elections and politics” beginning within the fall. The firm can be implementing two advert transparency adjustments, ensuring “Paid for by” disclaimers on political advertisements observe them after they’ve been shared and permitting anybody who makes use of the corporate’s Ad Library to trace advert spending for Congressional races. Previously this was solely out there for U.S. presidential campaigns.

Along with the adjustments to the way it handles political advertisements, Facebook additionally introduced a Voting Information Center, a central hub that can present info to U.S. voters on methods to register to vote, request a mail-in or absentee poll, any voting ID necessities and when and the place to vote. The data heart will even accumulate native alerts from election officers that may observe changes to voting strategies in mild of COVID-19. The new voting data hub might be modeled after the coronavirus info heart that Facebook launched in March.

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According to the weblog publish, the knowledge collected within the new U.S. voting hub will evolve as voters “transfer into totally different phases of the election,” like registration cutoffs, vote-by-mail poll request deadlines, early voting durations and election day itself.

Facebook calls the hassle “one other line of protection” in opposition to election interference, clearly seeking to keep away from a repeat of its position in amplifying disinformation through the 2016 presidential election—a deeply consequential failure the corporate continues to grapple with a full 4 years later.

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