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Facebook’s 2020 election 'protections' still allow for lying politicians

At least Pages will be transparent.
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hermosawave via Getty Images

Today, Facebook outlined new measures to stop abuse and interference in the 2020 election. They include safeguards meant to make Facebook more secure and transparent, but they make one glaring omission. The new policies don't change Facebook's rules that allow political candidates to lie in their political ads.

As part of the election efforts, Facebook is launching Facebook Protect, additional security measures for accounts that may face threats during an election, including candidates, elected officials and staff. Participants will have to use two-factor authentication, and their accounts will be monitored for hacking.

To make Pages more transparent, Facebook is adding info on who's behind the Page. A new "Organizations That Manage This Page" tab will show the page owner, including the organization's legal name and verified city, phone number or website. To start, this will only appear on Pages with large US audiences that have gone through Facebook's business verification.

Facebook will also begin labeling Pages that are wholly or partially controlled by their government as state-controlled media. You'll find that info and other new details -- like a US presidential candidate spend tracker -- in the Ad Library.

Facebook continues to target coordinated inauthentic behavior, and today, the company removed four additional networks -- three from Iran and one from Russia. It plans to combat the spread of viral misinformation by labeling false info, and it is investing $2 million to help people determine what's true.

The new measures will likely have a positive impact, but they might do more to upset users who were hoping Facebook would take a stand against false messages in political ads, like the recent Trump campaign ad about Joe Biden's ties to Ukraine.

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