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Social media giant Facebook introduces its own new regulations ahead of US elections

Facebook has today insisted it will not block or censor Donald Trump in the upcoming US Presidential Election but has instead promised to increase its transparency, while launching a new ‘Voting Information Center’. 

Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Nick Clegg, who is now working for Facebook’s European operation, said the best way for those who do not like what Mr Trump is saying to respond is ‘to vote’.

He also said the company had ‘looked hard at what went wrong’ in relation to Russian interference in the 2016 US election, which saw fabricated articles and misinformation spread from Russian government-controlled media across social media platforms.

It comes as Facebook today announced a raft of new measures which it hopes will engage voters in the upcoming US presidential election.

The American-based social media giant is launching a ‘Voting Information Center’ on Facebook and Instagram that will include details on registering to vote, polling places and voting by mail.

The information centre, which will be much like Facebook’s coronavirus information centre, launched earlier this year following the outbreak of Covid-19, will draw the information from state election officials and local election authorities.

Facebook has today insisted it will not block or censor Donald Trump (pictured) in the upcoming US Presidential Election but has instead promised to increase its transparency, while launching a new ‘Voting Information Center’

Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, former Liberal Democrat, Nick Clegg (pictured), now a boss within the social media giant's European operation, says the 'best response' to those who do not like what Mr Trump is saying is 'to vote'

Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, former Liberal Democrat, Nick Clegg (pictured), now a boss within the social media giant’s European operation, says the ‘best response’ to those who do not like what Mr Trump is saying is ‘to vote’

This image provided by Facebook shows screens of Voting Information Center. Facebook is launching a widespread effort to boost U.S. voter turnout and show authoritative information about voting, even as it doubles down on its stance to let politicians like President Donald Trump post misinformation about voting. (Facebook via AP)

This image provided by Facebook shows screens of Voting Information Center. Facebook is launching a widespread effort to boost U.S. voter turnout and show authoritative information about voting, even as it doubles down on its stance to let politicians like President Donald Trump post misinformation about voting. (Facebook via AP)

It will be prominently displayed on Facebook news feeds and on Instagram later in the summer.

But the social media giant says it will not remove or label posts by US politicians, including President Donald Trump, which spread misinformation about postal voting.

It comes amid a row between the President and Facebook’s rival Twitter over its decision to ‘fact-check’ a tweet by Mr Trump over ‘misleading’ claims that mail-in ballots will lead to fraud.

Mr Clegg, who is Facebook’s European Vice President, said: ‘Facebook believes in free expression and the right of voters to hear what politicians are saying so they can be held to account.

‘That does not mean politicians can say whatever they like – the line is drawn at speech that will cause imminent harm or suppress voting, and no-on is exempt from that.

‘But if people do not like what Mr Trump or any other politician is saying, is not to censor them, but to vote.’   

His comments echo those by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg made last month.  

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reaffirmed his position that the platform should allow 'as much expression as possible'

It follows a row between President Donald Trump and social media giants over his 'misleading' claims that postal ballots in the US Presidential election will lead to voting fraud

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) has reaffirmed his position that the platform should allow ‘as much expression as possible’. It follows a row between President Donald Trump (pictured right) and social media giants over his ‘misleading’ claims that postal ballots in the US Presidential election will lead to voting fraud

He said: ‘I know many people are upset that we have left the President´s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies.’

In a USA Today opinion piece Tuesday, Zuckerberg reaffirmed that position.

‘Ultimately, I believe the best way to hold politicians accountable is through voting, and I believe we should trust voters to make judgments for themselves,’ he wrote. ‘That´s why I think we should maintain as open a platform as possible, accompanied by ambitious efforts to boost voter participation.’

Facebook’s free speech stance may have more to do with not wanting to alienate Trump and his supporters while keeping its business options open, critics suggest.

Dipayan Ghosh, co-director of the Platform Accountability Project at Harvard Kennedy School, said Facebook ‘does not want to tick off a whole swath of people who really believe the president and appreciate’ his words.

In addition to the voting hub, Facebook will also now let people turn off political and social issue ads that display the ‘paid for by’ designation, meaning a politician or political entity paid for it.

The company announced this option in January but it is going into effect now.

Facebook will also block all ads in the US during the election period from state-controlled media organisations in other countries.   

Sarah Schiff, product manager who works on ads, cautioned that Facebook’s systems ‘aren’t perfect’ and said she encourages users to report ‘paid for by’ ads they see if they have chosen not to see them.

This image provided by Facebook shows screens of Voting Information Center. Facebook is launching a widespread effort to boost U.S. voter turnout and show authoritative information about voting, even as it doubles down on its stance to let politicians like President Donald Trump post misinformation about voting. (Facebook via AP)

This image provided by Facebook shows screens of Voting Information Center. Facebook is launching a widespread effort to boost U.S. voter turnout and show authoritative information about voting, even as it doubles down on its stance to let politicians like President Donald Trump post misinformation about voting. (Facebook via AP)

Earlier this month, President Trump got officially ‘fact-checked’ by Twitter for suggesting that California’s mail-in balloting initiative would lead to substantial voter fraud in the November general election.  

Trump had also tweeted on Tuesday morning: ‘There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed,’ Trump had written Tuesday morning.

The president then insinuated that non-citizens could get ballots.

‘The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one,’ the president said. ‘That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote.’

The president ended the two-tweet tirade by saying, ‘This will be a Rigged Election.’

‘No way!’ said Trump, who votes in Florida absentee.

By Tuesday afternoon, Twitter had labelled the tweets with a blue exclamation mark prompting users to ‘get the facts about mail-in ballots.’

Another page on the social media site called Trump’s tweets ‘unsubstantiated,’ according to fact-checkers from CNN, Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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