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Photo illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook is temporarily demoting posts containing election-related misinformation on its platforms and limiting the distribution of livestreams that may relate to the election, the company confirmed Thursday.

Why it matters: Facebook is turning on emergency measures like those used in countries where democracy is under threat as it looks to contain the spread of false claims and conspiracy theories about ballot counting.

What they're saying: "As vote counting continues , we are seeing more reports of inaccurate claims about the election," a Facebook spokesperson said.

  • "While many of these claims have low engagement on our platform, we are taking additional temporary steps, which we’ve previously discussed, to keep this content from reaching more people."

The New York Times was first to report Facebook was preparing to activate the measures, which the Times reported also include added "friction" to make people take additional steps before sharing content.

  • Twitter announced a similar step last month, nudging users to quote a tweet they want to share to add context before simply retweeting it.

Context: Facebook has until now been taking a softer public approach to election misinformation than Twitter, simply adding a label to misleading posts that steers users to an election information hub. Twitter has been hiding especially problematic election misinformation and limiting its ability to be shared.

Meanwhile: BuzzFeed reported Thursday that Facebook has seen a sharp rise since Oct. 31 in sentiments linked to the incitement of violence, per an internal tool that tracks hashtags and search terms.

  • "We're staying vigilant in detecting content that could incite violence during this time of heightened uncertainty," the Facebook spokesperson said. "We've readied products and policies in advance of this period so we can take action quickly and according to our plans."

The big picture: Conservatives are fuming online as platforms clamp down on efforts to spread manufactured evidence, including in private Facebook groups, that Democrats are stealing the election. Extremism experts worry the baseless claims could spill over into real-world violence.

Go deeper

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning four of the five cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in four out of five instances gives legitimacy to the board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook seeks a new head of U.S. public policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook is looking externally for a new U.S. policy chief as it moves Kevin Martin, a Republican who now holds the job, to a different position, per a memo seen by Axios.

Between the lines: Facebook is moving on from the Trump era in which Republicans held most of the power in Washington and Facebook was particularly eager among tech companies to forge warm relations with GOP policymakers.

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