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Facebook to ban ads that claim election win before official announcement

Facebook has announced it will prohibit ads from appearing on its service that prematurely announce a winner following the November 3 presidential election.

The measure also includes political ads from the camps of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden that claim victory before an official announcement is made.

Facebook’s decision, which also affects Instagram, comes several weeks after it said it would ban all political advertising on its platform during the week before the November 3 vote as part of efforts to reduce misinformation and election interference on its service.

In a series of messages posted on Twitter on Wednesday, September 30, Facebook director of product management Robin Leathern said that besides banning ads that make premature declarations of victory, the California-based company “also won’t allow ads with content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of an election. For example, 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.”

With tension mounting ahead of what could be a very tight vote, and Facebook still grappling with misinformation on its platform, the company wants to be seen as playing its part in reducing the chances of confusion and disarray enveloping election night. But with such a colossal amount of content constantly landing on its platform, the social networking giant clearly has its work cut out.

In a recent online post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was “worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country.”

In other measures focused on the November 3 presidential election, Facebook recently launched the Voting Information Center offering a range of resources which it said will help to “protect the integrity of our elections” and “navigate a confusing election process.”

It also brought in a forwarding limit on Messenger, its messaging platform, in a bid to reduce the spread of misinformation.

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Trevor Mogg
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