Zuckerberg: Facebook will restrict less content after US elections

The tech giant's CEO said recent content-banning was undertaken to prevent outside attempts to influence this year's elections.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says expects the social media giant will impose fewer restrictive rules on content following the conclusion of November's presidential election.

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Speaking on a companywide conference call Thursday, the billionaire reportedly explained that the Menlo Park, California-based company had implemented policy changes to address any uncertainty surrounding the election and the perpetuation of disinformation.

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The hyper-vigilance follows accusations that the platform and its rivals were exploited in previous elections, the 2016 presidential race in particular, by foreign agents seeking to sway public opinion and influence the outcome.

"Once we’re past these events, and we’ve resolved them peacefully, I wouldn’t expect that we continue to adopt a lot more policies that are restricting of a lot more content,” Zuckerberg said, according to BuzzFeed News.

Facebook's latest platform-moderation efforts include the creation of an independent Oversight Board and a renewed and strengthened effort to remove certain posts and advertisements.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Not only has Facebook prohibited new political ads the week before the election, it will also reject ads from candidates President Donald Trump or Joe Biden if either tries to prematurely claim victory.

In addition, Facebook has also committed to cracking down on Holocaust denial, QAnon, and extremist groups, and is currently running its own online voting information center.

“The basic answer is that this does not reflect a shift in our underlying philosophy or strong support of free expression,” Zuckerberg continued. "What it reflects is, in our view, an increased risk of violence and unrest, especially around the elections, and an increased risk of physical harm, especially around the time when we expect COVID vaccines to be approved over the coming months.”

Outside influence has already been detected in the months ahead of Election Day, and The New York Times reported in August that members of the U.S. intelligence community say Russia, China and Iran are all attempting to meddle in the race.

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In September, the 36-year-old gave a more general analysis in a blog post on Facebook's strategy ahead of Election Day.

“There are a lot of things that I think that people say that are deeply offensive, and that are hurtful or even hateful,” Zuckerberg said Thursday, according to BuzzFeed News. “But you know, where I think that we should draw the line is around when something has the likelihood to contribute to real-world violence or harm. And what we've seen over the last several years is a rise in anti-Semitic violence, both in the United States and across the world.”

“There's an increased risk of these kind of different attacks, especially around this flashpoint around the election,” he noted.

The Real Clear Politics average shows former vice president Joe Biden leading President Trump by almost nine percentage points in the general election.

“If there's just a decisive victory from someone -- that could be helpful for clarity and for not having violence or civil unrest after the election," Zuckerberg said, according to BuzzFeed News.

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