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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

Dec 1, 2020 - Technology

Facebook, Google push deals despite antitrust scrutiny

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Facebook announced Monday that it has purchased a customer service chatbot startup called Kustomer. The app reportedly cost Facebook $1 billion, the same amount it paid for Instagram in 2012.

Why it matters: The deal is the latest sign that the world's biggest tech companies, despite facing enormous antitrust scrutiny globally, will not stop buying up other companies.
.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.

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