Facebook will use warnings when a U.S. political candidate or party announces an early victory in the 2020 presidential election.
The social network led by Mark Zuckerberg has promised to add “more specific information” to the posts in question and in “top-of-feed notifications” and to publish a picture showing what the labels will look like for its users on Facebook and Instagram.
It will read: “The votes will be counted. The winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election has not been predicted”.
On Facebook, a link will direct users to legitimate updates, including the latest results, which will be displayed in the app’s Voting Information Center.
Facebook said it will remove content that attempts to “suppress participation, intimidate voters or organize this” and will search for such problems in real time.
Communications expert Andy Stone confirmed in a tweet that the website will wait for the election campaign, which will be called by the National Election Pool/Edison via Reuters, the Associated Press (AP) next to “six independent decision desks in the major media houses”.
If a presidential candidate or party declares an early victory, we will add more specific information on the labels of candidate posts, include more specific information in the top-of-feed notifications, and continue to display the latest results in our Voting Information Center. pic.twitter.com/PBpWQFhlos
– Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) November 3, 2020
Confirmation of the Platform’s policy comes after several sources have told Axios that President Donald Trump has told “confidants” that he will announce an early victory if the results indicate that he will be ahead in the first election results on Tuesday evening.
Trump denied this claim on Sunday, but added that his team would “go in with our lawyers” the night of the election, apparently before all the ballots are counted.
The ongoing COVID 19 health crisis means more Americans will use the postal vote, which Trump claimed was open to manipulation and fraud without evidence. It has been suggested that Trump’s team will use delays as an example of election fraud.
Guy Rosen, vice president for integrity at Facebook, revealed a policy on early statements in a blog post last month. He said the site expected that the final election results would take longer than previous votes due to the pandemic and “more people voting by mail”.
“If a candidate or party declares an early victory before a race is called by the major media, we will add more specific information in the messages that the counting is still underway and no winner has been determined,” he wrote.
“If the candidate declared the winner by the major media is challenged by another candidate or party, we will display the name of the declared winning candidate with notifications at the top of Facebook and Instagram, as well as label postings by candidates, with the name of the declared winner and a link to the polling center.
Facebook is not alone: the social network Twitter reaffirmed this week that any tweets falsely claiming victory would violate its policy of civic integrity.
“People on Twitter, including candidates for office, cannot claim an election victory until it is authoritatively claimed,” leaders said in a blog updated yesterday.
“To determine the results of an election in the U.S., we need either an announcement from state election officials or a public projection from at least two authoritative national news agencies that make independent election appeals. Tweets that contain premature demands will be labeled and redirect people to our official U.S. election site.
As technology and social media companies adjust to their impact, their leaders seem to be well aware that the 2020 election is likely to be more turbulent than ever before.
Zuckerberg himself said in September that with the arrival of the votes “the danger of civil unrest across the country could increase. “This election will not be conducted as usual,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy”.