Facebook to block new political ads in week before election

Zuckerberg says he is 'concerned about the challenges people could face when voting'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced a slate of new policies to fight voter misinformation, including cutting off new political ads a week before Election Day and limiting forwarding on Facebook's Messenger app.

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Advertisers will still be able to run political ads in the week before the election, but Facebook will not greenlight new political or issue ads in the week leading up to Election Day.

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"It's important that campaigns can run get out the vote campaigns, and I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims," Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.

Facebook is also limiting how many chats Messenger users can forward a message to at one time.

Mark Zuckerberg arrives for a meeting with the European Commission vice-president in charge for Values and Transparency, in Brussels, on Feb. 17, 2020. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

"We're reducing the risk of misinformation and harmful content going viral by limiting forwarding on Messenger," Zuckerberg wrote. "We've already implemented this in WhatsApp during sensitive periods and have found it to be an effective method of preventing misinformation from spreading in many countries."

In addition, Facebook will:

-Take down posts that say in-person voters will catch coronavirus

-Attach "information labels" to content about the legitimacy of voting methods

-Direct users to official election results if a candidate declares victory before final results are known

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Facebook has already removed "thousands" of groups "that could be used to organize violence or civil unrest in the period after the elections," Zuckerberg wrote.

"We've already strengthened our enforcement against militias, conspiracy networks like QAnon, and other groups," he wrote. "We will continue to ramp up enforcement against these groups over the coming weeks."

Facebook is "running the largest voting information campaign in American history" and drove nearly 24 million clicks to voter registration sites over just three days, Zuckerberg wrote on Thursday.

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"I believe our democracy is strong enough to withstand this challenge and deliver a free and fair election -- even if it takes time for every vote to be counted," he wrote. "We've voted during global pandemics before. We can do this."

Read Zuckerberg's full post below:

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