Mark Zuckerberg testified via video before the US Congress on July 29, 2020. -
Mandel Ngan / AP / SIPA
Facebook is taking a small step in the right direction.
Attacked for its laxity in the face of disinformation and the manipulation of content, the social network announced Thursday that no new political advertising could be broadcast on its platform in the week preceding the US presidential election on November 3.
Advertisers may, however, continue to serve shared ads prior to this period, as they are added to Facebook's ad library.
"This election will not be a usual election. We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy", justified the boss of the Californian giant Mark Zuckerberg in a post on his personal Facebook page.
"It consists of helping people register and vote, to dispel confusion over how this election works and to take measures to reduce the risks of violence and social unrest," he said. he continued.
Meanwhile, Facebook also reported on a post by Donald Trump on Thursday in which the US president encouraged his supporters to vote twice in North Carolina.
Vigilance on official results
In this regard, Zuckerberg said he was worried about possible violent movements to challenge the results, which may not be known with certainty for "days or even weeks".
For this reason, he announced that if a candidate or party tries to claim victory before all results are known, a link on their post will redirect readers to the official results.
Among other measures, Facebook has pledged to withdraw posts assuring that going to vote would result in contamination with the coronavirus, to limit the sharing of articles on Messenger chat to prevent disinformation posts from going viral and to fight against attempts to restrict the right to vote through false publications.
Avoid a repeat of 2016
This hardening of policy comes as the platform had so far chosen to prioritize freedom of expression and allow political ads when its rival Twitter banned them in 2019. Mark Zuckerberg's company has been particularly criticized for allowing massive influence campaigns, mostly orchestrated from Russia, to spread during the 2016 presidential election.
This year, social networks are bracing for other disaster scenarios where their platforms would be used to challenge the results of the vote.
Donald Trump thus regularly questions the reliability of postal voting, a method popular in the United States, and crucial during a pandemic.
US presidential election