Technology

Facebook launching voting information campaign, eyes 4M registrations

Social media giant Facebook is launching a massive voter information campaign on both its platform and Instagram in the hope of registering 4 million Americans to vote before November’s general election.

In a USA Today op-ed, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg called November’s election “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 wrote. “People want accountability, and in a democracy the ultimate way we do that is through voting.”

Zuckerberg has received considerable flak over the years for Facebook’s seemingly laissez-faire approach to monitoring and removing misinformation and hate speech. Most recently, critics of the billionaire bristled when he said that Facebook “shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” after Twitter fact-checked a pair of President Trump’s tweets.

The billionaire acknowledged this, saying in the op-ed, “I know many people want us to moderate and remove more of their content. We have rules against speech that will cause imminent physical harm or suppress voting, and no one is exempt from them. But accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are saying, even if we viscerally dislike what they say.”

The company’s new Voter Information Center will appear at the top of users’ Facebook and Instagram feeds, according to a blog post by Naomi Gleit, Facebook’s vice president of product management and social impact.

The feature will include, among other things, posts from “verified local election authorities with announcements and changes to the voting process” as well as “[g]uidance on registration and who’s eligible to vote.”

Gleit signaled that the Voter Information Center should be up and running by July.

Tags 2020 general election Donald Trump Facebook Instagram Mark Zuckerberg misinformation op-ed voter information campaign Voter registration

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