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Facebook extends ban on political ads as alarm rises over elections

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Of particular importance is the unlimited ban on political advertising, after Facebook resisted calls to remove ads for months. Last month, the company said it would stop accepting new political ads only the week before polling day, so existing political ads would continue to circulate. New political ads could have resumed after election day.

But Facebook is lagging behind other social media companies in banning political ads. Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter, banned all political ads from the service a year ago because, he said, they could quickly spread disinformation and had “significant ramifications as the democratic infrastructure of today may not be ready to manage ”. Google last month said it would also ban all political ads and publish after election day.

Mr Zuckerberg said the ads give lesser-known politicians the opportunity to promote themselves, and removing such ads could hurt their chances of expanding their online support base.

Facebook also said it would rely on a mix of media, including Reuters and The Associated Press, to determine whether a candidate won the presidency. Until those news outlets call the race, Facebook said it would place notifications in the News Feed to say that no candidate won. It reinforces what the company said it would do last month, when it announced it would put labels on posts redirecting users to Reuters if Mr. Trump or his supporters falsely claimed a quick victory.

To quell potential bullying at the ballot box, Facebook also plans to remove messages calling on people to watch polls “when those calls use militarized language or suggest the goal is to intimidate, exert control or display power over election officials. or voters.

Mr. Trump and others have spoken of looking at the polls in recent weeks. In a debate with Mr Biden last week, Mr Trump urged his supporters to “go to the polls and watch very carefully” on election day. His son, Donald Trump Jr., has said he wants an “army for Trump” to invade the polls, raising concerns over the threat of violence at the ballot box.

Facebook, which has been criticized for unevenly removing posts and inconsistently enforcing its policies against toxic content, said it had already removed numerous posts where people attempted to interfere with voting. Between March and September, he deleted more than 120,000 posts from Facebook and Instagram in the United States because the posts violated his policies of voter interference.

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