Meta rolls out plan for midterms, pledges to remove misinformation

AP Photo/Tony Avelar
Facebook’s Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2021.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, pledged to remove misinformation about voting and invest an additional $5 million in fact-checking ahead of the midterm elections, according to a Tuesday blog post

Much of Meta’s plans for midterm-related content uses the playbook the company implemented in 2020. 

The social media giant will continue its policy of removing posts with misinformation about dates, locations, times and methods of voting, as well as false claims about who can vote and whether a vote will be counted and calls for violence related to voting, Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg wrote. 

Clegg said Meta is also prepared to again “respond to content discussing the integrity of the election” by labeling posts and directing users to its Voting Information Center, which has information about elections and lets local and state officials send alerts. In 2020, Facebook started to apply labels with information to all posts from presidential and congressional candidates about voting, regardless of whether they included misinformation.

In the event that Meta does need to put the labels in place, Clegg said the platform plans to do so in a “targeted and strategic way” after receiving feedback from the 2020 election cycle that the labels were “over-used.” 

Meta faced criticism over its policies about election misinformation for non-English languages, especially in Spanish. The plan for 2022 amps up its plans for tackling Spanish misinformation to a degree. 

Facebook will start showing election-related notifications in a user’s feed in a second language other than English when it seems applicable. For example, if a user has their language set to English but is interacting with a majority of content in Spanish, then Facebook will show the voting notifications in English and Spanish, according to the blog post. 

Meta’s addition of $5 million in fact-checking and media literacy initiatives ahead of the midterms will also in part go toward partnering with Univision and Telemundo to launch fact-checking services on WhatsApp, the messaging platform owned by Meta. The funding will also provide support to Meta’s 10 fact-checking partners in the U.S., five of which cover content in Spanish. 

Meta will also prohibit new political, electoral and social issue ads during the final week of the election campaign, as it did in 2020. Ads that have run before will be able to continue running, but any edits that are made to the creation, placement, targeting and optimization of the ad will not be allowed. 

Another change from the 2020 election cycle is the absence of former President Trump on the platform.

Facebook suspended Trump last January, after the company said he violated the incitement of violence policy during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Facebook later made a decision that Trump will remain suspended until at least 2023, and will make a determination on his ability to get back on the platform at that time. 

Even if Trump runs for office again, as he is widely expected to do, Clegg told Politico it will not change Meta’s timeline on that decision.

Tags 2022 midterm elections election misinformation Facebook Nick Clegg Nick Clegg

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