WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday that the media platform will add a new feature that will allow users to turnoff political ads and encourage Americans to vote for the November election.
- According to Zuckerberg, Facebook has “a responsibility not just to prevent voter suppression — which disproportionately targets people of color — but to actively support well-informed voter engagement, registration and turnout.”
- Facebook recently received criticisms over its inaction to limit or delete offensive and inaccurate information shared by politicians.
Billions of Facebook users can now enjoy political-ad free browsing as Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that the company will now allow users to turn off political ads. The new feature will be rolled out on Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday and will be widely available in the coming weeks.
The platform will also assist again in the voting registration of about four million Americans for the November elections. In 2016, the social networking site assisted two million voting registrations, and another two million during the 2018 mid-term elections.
Zuckerberg issued the statement in an opinion column for USA Today. He also laid down the platform’s measurements to prohibit election interference.
In response to the growing concerns over voting issues for the upcoming election, Zuckerberg said that Facebook has “a responsibility not just to prevent voter suppression — which disproportionately targets people of color — but to actively support well-informed voter engagement, registration and turnout.”
According to the CEO, the company will urge Americans to vote and establish a Voting Information Center that will contain full details regarding the voting process. It will also feature official publications from state and local authorities.
“This work is sorely needed: we surveyed adults in the U.S. and more than half said they believe people will need more information on how to vote in November than in previous elections,” he explained.
Recently, Facebook received backlash over its hesitation to limit or delete offensive and inaccurate information advocated by politicians. Responding to the criticism, the Facebook CEO said that it is essential to know the politicians’ standpoint so they would be accountable for their statements. Zuckerberg emphasized that voting would be the greater way to ensure accountability.
In 2016 election, Facebook also faced serious investigation which include becoming an avenue of Russian interference. Zuckerberg said that that company was accountable of protecting “the integrity of the vote itself” and conceded that it was delayed in responding to foreign interference crisis in 2016.
Since then, Facebook has renovated and built “some of the most advanced systems in the world” to avoid interference. So far, it did its job to more than 200 elections worldwide.
“The 2020 election is going to be unlike any other. It was already going to be a heated campaign, and that was before the pandemic — and before the killing of George Floyd and so many others forced us yet again to confront the painful reality of systemic racism in America,” Zuckerberg said.