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Facebook seeks to ‘protect election integrity’ with new voting info hub

Facebook’s information hub for voting resources, which it announced a few weeks ago, is now available in the United States. The social network, in a blog post, writes that by offering quick access to accurate and authoritative voting information, it wants to help “protect the integrity of our elections” and “navigate a confusing election process”.

Both Instagram and Facebook users will soon find a link to the Voting Information Center in their accounts. However, Facebook says it will also individually send notifications to inform people of voting age about the new feature.

Originally unveiled with a goal of helping 4 million voters register this year, Facebook’s online hub offers resources on a wide variety of election-related topics such as relevant links to register as a voter, requesting absentee or mail-in ballots, “well-sourced news”, and verified posts from state election officials and other nonpartisan civic organizations. Starting today, Facebook will also begin labeling voting-related posts — with a link to the information center — from all of its users, not just federal politicians.

What’s more, Facebook has added a tool called Voting Alerts which when enabled, allows you to receive updates from local election authorities on “late-breaking changes to the voting process”. The social network says that only pages from a government authority, not individual election officials, are eligible to participate in this. The company is partnering with the Bipartisan Policy Center to power a titled Facts About Voting that will host “facts about common election topics”.

“I believe Facebook has a responsibility not just to prevent voter suppression — which disproportionately targets people of color — but also to actively support well-informed voter engagement, registration, and turnout,” Mark Zuckerburg said two months ago.

Facebook faces an especially greater challenge this year. Since due to the increase in mail-in ballots, election results are finalized later than they normally do, there’s much more room for misinformation to spread and influence voters. “A prolonged ballot process has the potential to be exploited in order to sow distrust in the election outcome,” the social network’s Naomi Gleit, VP Product and Social Impact wrote further in the blog post.

While Zuckerberg has been long against the idea, Facebook is now also reportedly considering a ban on political ads. In June, the social network added the ability for users to personally opt out of political ads.

Yesterday, Facebook announced it’s one of the nine tech companies that met with federal agencies to discuss misinformation concerns and how each platform is gearing up for the November elections.

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