Pinterest bans misinformation about 2020 census


Pinterest, the feel-good social media site known for wedding planning and scrapbooking, announced on Wednesday that it is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to remove any misinformation about the 2020 census from its platform. 

Pinterest is the latest social media network to announce it is banning all posts that could keep people in the U.S. from participating in the 2020 census, a vital demographic survey that determines everything from congressional representation to government funding. 

“The 2020 Census will determine federal funding for schools, transportation, housing and other essential community assets people need to thrive—the building blocks for an inspired life,” Aerica Banks, Pinterest’s public policy manager, wrote. “We want to do our part to make sure people on Pinterest are fully counted.” 

Pinterest already had strict rules against misinformation, but the new effort unveiled Wednesday will focus on census-related disinformation specifically, targeting any content that promotes false information about the census. For example, under Pinterest’s new policy, the company will take down disinformation about who can participate in the census, how their personal information will be used and when the census will take place. 

The company is banning any ads that include false or misleading content about the upcoming presidential election and the 2020 census as well.

“We’re working with the U.S. Census Bureau to verify and remove misinformation and disinformation from Pinterest,” Banks wrote. “If we find a Pin or board that violates our policy, we’ll share it with the Census Bureau so that all the other platforms they’re working with can also take action on the content.”

In order to bolster their efforts, Pinterest will redirect users searching for terms related to the census to the official 2020 census website, where they can find “authoritative” information. 

Twitter, Facebook and Google have also partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to stave off an expected wave of viral online disinformation ahead of the survey this year. In June, Facebook announced it will ban users from spreading disinformation around the census and train employees in how to spot census suppression. And Google said it is banning ads on YouTube videos that promote any lies about the census.

The U.S. census, which takes place every 10 years, is a congressionally mandated process in which the country is able to gather information about its population, including its size and demographic makeup. The results of the survey are used to decide where federal funds are allocated and how congressional districts are drawn.

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