In a new “Axios on HBO” interview, Mark Zuckerberg reveals that Facebook will impose new election rules in the hopes of deterring the spread of misinformation and violence and to help voters see the results as “legitimate and fair.”
The new rules were announced Thursday and include flagging posts by candidates if they announce a premature victory and forbidding any new ads to run within a week Election Day.
Zuckerberg said, “There is, unfortunately, I think, a heightened risk of civil unrest in the period between voting and a result being called… 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.”
New York Times opinion columnist Charlie Warzel wrote the following about Facebook: “Facebook is too big for democracy. … Its size and power creates instability, the answer to which, according to Facebook, is to give the company additional authority.”
There is a growing concern for how the public will view the results of the election since even the president has repeatedly suggested that there could be a “rigged election”, particularly, according to him, if there is a heavy use of mail-in ballots this year.
Zuckerberg wants to be prepared for the very real possibility that election results may not be finalized on election night. He says that Facebook and the media need to begin “preparing the American people that there’s nothing illegitimate about this election,” no matter if it takes “additional days or even weeks to make sure that all of the votes are counted.”
Facebook’s “New Steps to Protect the U.S. Elections” include the following:
- “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.”
- “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 from Reuters and the National Election Pool.”
Zuckerberg said, “The country is very charged right now… So I think regardless of what we do, there’s some chance that this [unrest] happens across the country. I just want to make sure that we do our part to not contribute to it.”