Throughout much of 2020, Facebook has been embroiled in yet another controversy, this time around its apparent unwillingness to remove posts that essential amount to attempts at voter suppression. A few weeks ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would label all posts that mention voting and direct users to visit Facebook’s voting hub for authoritative information. That initiative kicks off today, according to Axios.
As announced in June, these labels and links to Facebook’s voting information hub will apply to anyone on Facebook, including politicians. Furthermore, as Axios reports, posts that specifically mention absentee voting or mail-in ballots will direct users to a government website focused on absentee ballots. This comes after Facebook let President Trump post false information on the platform about mail-in ballots. Twitter, on the other hand, labeled his tweets on the subject as misleading and included links to “get the facts” on mail-in ballots.
Facebook VP of Integrity Guy Rosen confirmed this move today on Twitter. While Zuckerberg’s announcement in June made it sound like these links would go specifically to Facebook’s own voting hub, Rosen’s tweet indicates that the labels and links will direct to “official info,” presumably from the government. The screenshot Rosen shared shows a link directly to an official government site on voting.
We're rolling out labels that link to official info about the 2020 US elections on posts about voting from federal candidates and elected officials, while we work to build our Voting Information Center and add labels to all posts about voting. More here: https://t.co/yQtri6pBlZ pic.twitter.com/P0hlXZRrzv— Guy Rosen (@guyro) July 16, 2020
As usual, Facebook is declining to be an “arbiter of truth,” instead labeling any post that discusses voting with this info rather than calling out ones that post deliberately misleading information. At least in this case, taking the tactic of applying these labels to any voting-related post should help spread around links to the most reliable information. Of course, doing this doesn’t also preclude Facebook from removing posts with incorrect claims about voting, but it’s pretty clear at this point the company has no interest making those calls.