President Donald Trump has repeatedly made claims of voter fraud that could erode the results of the election. In response to these claims, Facebook has prohibited advertisements that make premature declarations of victory, as well as restrictions on new political ads that convey misinformation about COVID-19.
Social media sites have expanded on these restrictions by declaring they will not allow political advertisements with content that seeks to delegitimize election results.
These banned ads “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,” said Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management.
The ban also includes advertisements that portray voting or census participation as pointless, as well as ads that call the election into question.
Facebook has already been under fire in the past and has been called out by critics for its poor fact-checking policies.
“I think Twitter has been much more aggressive around these issues,” said Gary Carlin, associate professor, advertising and public relations. “Facebook should really follow their lead; I understand the issue of freedom of speech but spreading disinformation [that appears to be news] should be monitored and regulated more by social media companies.”
Many Facebook users and voters have criticized Facebook’s response and believe restrictions should have been put into place following the previous election results.
“This is something Facebook should have been doing from the start,” said Sydney Vezza, senior. “This is such an important decision all U.S. citizens have to make.”
Facebook is currently the number one social media platform in the United States. According to research conducted by Statista, 223 million Americans use Facebook, which makes it a powerful tool and an advertising hub spot, as it is present in so many people’s lives.
“The influence that politics have on social media is significant,” said Seth Albert, senior. “Advertising is heavily used on social media, making it extraordinarily present in our daily lives, which could alter perceptions and ideas.”