Facebook announced a new policy on Wednesday banning political ads that seek to “delegitimize the outcome of an election.”
“This would include calling a method of voting inherently fraudulent or corrupt, or using isolated incidents of voter fraud to delegitimize the result of an election,” tweeted Facebook’s director of product management, Rob Leathern.
Last week, the company said it also wouldn’t allow ads that “make premature declarations of victory.” The new policies, which apply to both Facebook and Instagram ads, are meant to take “preventive steps to protect the integrity of the upcoming US 2020 elections,” according to Facebook’s company website.
As we get closer to Election Day we want to provide further clarity on policies we recently announced. Last week we said we’d prohibit ads that make premature declarations of victory. We also won’t allow ads with content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of an election (1/3)
— Rob Leathern (@robleathern) September 30, 2020
Facebook has previously been criticized for a policy of not removing political ads that contain knowingly false information. Last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended that position, saying private companies shouldn’t “censor” politicians.
This year, millions of Americans will be voting by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the results will likely not be final on election night, Nov. 3.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has repeatedly spread lies about the legitimacy of mail-in voting, claiming it is “fraudulent.” (It is not.)
The president has also repeatedly refused to confirm that he’ll accept the outcome of the election, saying last week, “we’re gonna have to see” about a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.
In Tuesday’s presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked both Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden whether they would commit to not declaring victory until the election can be independently certified and encourage their supporters not to engage in civil unrest.
“I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully,” Trump responded in an apparent call for voter intimidation.
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