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Facebook to reject ads that seek to delegitimize election, voting methods

Facebook to reject ads that seek to delegitimize election, voting methods
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A Facebook official on Wednesday announced changes to the platform's ad policy, pledging that the site would remove political ads that baselessly link certain kinds of voting to allegations of widespread voting fraud, such as false claims about mail-in voting.

The move, which comes as President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE regularly makes claims without evidence that mail-in votes lead to widespread election fraud, goes into effect immediately, according to the company's director of project management, Rob Leathern.

"As we get closer to Election Day we want to provide further clarity on policies we recently announced. Last week we said we’d prohibit ads that make premature declarations of victory. We also won’t allow ads with content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of an election," he tweeted.

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"For example, this would include calling a method of voting inherently fraudulent or corrupt, or using isolated incidents of voter fraud to delegitimize the result of an election," Leathern added.

Facebook's changes do not apply to regular posts made by users, which will still be labeled with misleading content warnings under Facebook's content policies. The announcement came the same day that Facebook moved to take down an unrelated advertisement by the Trump campaign which linked refugee admissions to the spread of coronavirus.

“We rejected these ads because we don’t allow claims that people’s physical safety, health, or survival is threatened by people on the basis of their national origin or immigration status,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill of the ads, which began appearing on the platform on Tuesday.

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When asked for comment, a Trump campaign spokesperson did not address the ad's content and stated that Americans could trust the president to keep people safe.

“When it comes to leading our nation through this crisis and delivering the Great American Comeback, Americans can rely on President Trump,” said the spokesperson.

The president has spread misleading claims about mail-in votes for months as November's election is likely to see more American voters submit ballots by mail than ever before, due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump has repeatedly resisted calls from journalists and state officials to stop denouncing the process, and has suggested that he could challenge the results of the election should it not turn out in his favor.