Saturday, Oct 31, 2020

Facebook turned down 2.2 million ads meant to interfere with US voting

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Mark Makela/Getty Images

Facebook really, really wants you to know it’s cracking down on attempts to interfere with voting in the 2020 US election. Global affairs VP Nick Clegg told Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview (via The Guardian and AFP) that Facebook had rejected 2.2 million ads on its site and Instagram that were intended to “obstruct voting” in the presidential election. The social network had also pulled about 120,000 posts so far, Clegg added.

The executive also used the chat as an opportunity to promote the size of Facebook’s team. There are 35,000 people handling security, Clegg said, and partnerships with 70 specialized media outlets involved in fact checking.

The data suggests there have been many bids to disenfranchise American voters, although it’s not certain how many stemmed from foreign interference campaigns versus domestic groups. It’s a sharp contrast to 2016, when misinformation campaigns ran relatively unimpeded.

Whether or not it’s doing everything possible is another matter. Facebook has faced criticism for allowing politicians to lie in ads (until election night), and has been accused of overruling fact checkers to appease politicians and their supporters. The situation appears better in 2020 than it was four years earlier, but there’s no guarantee attempts at voting interference won’t slip through the cracks.

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