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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

Twitter pilots feature allowing users to add context to misleading tweets

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter on Monday announced a new feature, called Birdwatch, aimed at combating misinformation and disinformation with a "community-driven approach" that allows users to add context to tweets they believe are misleading.

How it works: The new feature, which is being piloted in the U.S., "allows people to identify information in tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context," Twitter's vice president for product Keith Coleman wrote in a blog post.

Jan 26, 2021 - Technology

Twitter acquiring newsletter publishing company Revue

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twitter on Tuesday said it has acquired Revue, a newsletter platform for writers and publishers.

Why it matters: The deal marks Twitter's first step into building out long-form content experiences on Twitter, and its first foray into subscription revenue.

Twitter bans MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

Mike Lindell. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell was permanently banned from Twitter on Monday night for "repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy," a Twitter spokesperson told CNN.

Between the lines: Dominion Voting Systems has threatened to take legal action on Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election. The ban comes as he weighs a run for governor of Minnesota.

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