Facebook Readies Content Crackdown Measures for Possible Election Unrest

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is considering deploying internal emergency measures the company has designed for countries that deal with mass political and social unrest to combat any conflict that rises around the presidential election in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The emergency measures, which Facebook has already used in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, would only be deployed in extreme circumstances, such as if election-related violence was to take place, people familiar with the matter told the publication.

That’s right, with a growing number of Americans willing to accept and justify political violence, America’s political scene has grown so chaotic that the social media giant is bracing for election unrest.

These potential measures include slowing the spread of what Facebook’s moderation systems flag as problematic posts as they begin to go viral, and alter the news feed algorithm to change what types of content users see among others.

A company spokesman told the Journal that Facebook had “spent years” preparing for safer elections.

“We’ve applied lessons from previous elections, hired experts, and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios,” said the spokesman.

Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that November’s contentious election “is not going to be business as usual,” noting that “with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country.”

Pre-and post-election uncertainty in the US increased even more after Trump’s criticism of mail-in voting, which many voters are using this election cycle due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump has repeatedly declined to say whether he would accept the results of November’s election.

Price Action

Facebook shares gained $6.67, or 2.40%, by the close of trading Friday and changed hands at $284.79 each. Ticker is down $0.79, or 0.28%, in the before-hours session.

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