The Technology 202: Facebook’s new ad limits highlight pressure to prepare for chaotic election aftermath
The social network says the move is intended to limit misinformation and abuse of its service, following broad criticism that it has not done enough to stamp out falsehoods on its platform. Facebook hasn’t said how long the ad suspension will last, but in an internal memo to its sales staff that was obtained by the Washington Post, executives told staff to tell advertisers the ban would last a week.
The changes less than a month before Election Day underscore how tech companies are scrambling to address a fast-changing political environment.
Tech companies have been making key changes to rein in disinformation since Russia used their platforms in 2016 to divide and sow discord among Americans. But critics say many of those steps to limit foreign influence haven’t gone far enough to address disinformation emanating from within the United States – often from the megaphone of the president.
Social media companies have been trying to game out possible election outcomes to prepare.
Facebook has also been considering more than 70 different election scenarios, such as what it will do if Trump or other politicians use social media to contest the election results, Facebook’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, told Elizabeth. The company plans to partner with Reuters to send out notifications on election night on Facebook and Instagram with the latest results. Facebook has previously said it would apply labels to posts where a presidential candidate or other party declares victory prematurely, saying the count is ongoing.
Twitter has also been planning, gaming out nearly a dozen scenarios involving both foreign and domestic disinformation starting on election night and afterwards. The company’s scenarios included situations where people try to deter voting by saying the lines at the polls are too long, or a foreign power hacks documents and leaks