Facebook bans ‘militarised calls’ for poll watching

Facebook has banned calls for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarised language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters, as it prepares for US presidential election with a unique set of products and policies in the final stretch.

Getting the final election results this year may take longer than previous elections due to the pandemic and more people voting by mail.

Guy Rosen, VP, Integrity at facebook said on Wednesday that the social network has prepared a range of policies and products to keep people informed and prevent the spread of misinformation.

“For example, when polls close, we will run a notification at the top of Facebook and Instagram and apply labels to candidates’ posts directing people to the Voting Information Centre for more information about the vote-counting process,” Rosen explained.

If a candidate or party declares premature victory before a race is called by major media outlets, “we will add more specific information in the notifications that counting is still in progress and no winner has been determined”.

If the candidate that is declared the winner by major media outlets is contested by another candidate or party, Facebook will show the name of the declared winning candidate with notifications at the top of its main app and Instagram, as well as label posts from presidential candidates, with the declared winner’s name and a link to the Voting Information Centre.

Facebook said that it has worked on more than 200 elections around the globe since 2016 US presidential election, and now have more than 35,000 people across the company working on safety and security issues.

“Despite this progress, we’re not taking our eye off the ball,” Rosen said.

“With just under a month until Election Day, we’re encouraging more people to enroll in Facebook Protect by running a notification at the top of Facebook this week to Page admins for government officials, campaigns, political parties and others,” he added.