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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook announced Thursday that it will add labels to all posts from presidential and congressional candidates and federally-elected officials that mention voting or ballots, regardless of whether they contain misinformation.

Why it matters: It's the tech giant's response to scrutiny that it doesn't do enough to tackle voter suppression on its platform. Earlier this year, Facebook — unlike Twitter — did not take action against posts from President Trump that included false information about mail-in voting.

  • The labels, rolling out today, aren't a judgment of whether the posts themselves are accurate, but are instead meant to signal to Facebook users that they can get the most accurate information about voting by leading them to an official government website.
  • Posts that specifically reference voting by mail will link to an official government website on absentee voting.

The state of play: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new policy last month after complaints from civil rights groups and Joe Biden's campaign over the tech giant's lack of attention towards voter suppression efforts on its platform, especially by Trump.

  • The social network has since been caught up in a sweeping advertising boycott.
  • Zuckerberg has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to remove newsworthy posts from elected officials, but would rather let users to make up their minds about the content by labeling posts that violate its rules.

The big picture: The effort is part of a larger initiative by Facebook to help register users to vote.

  • The company wants to help 4 million people register to vote in the 2020 election through labels and notifications that push people to a newly-created voter information center that provides accurate voter information.

What's next: Facebook says it plans to extend such voter initiatives to its other apps, Instagram and Messenger, soon.

Go deeper

Oct 27, 2020 - Technology

Facebook warns of "perception hacks" undermining trust in democracy

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Facebook warned Tuesday that bad actors are increasingly taking to social media to create the false perception that they’ve pulled off major hacks of electoral systems or have otherwise seriously disrupted elections.

Why it matters: "Perception hacking," as Facebook calls it, can have dire consequences on people's faith in democracy, sowing distrust, division and confusion among the voters it targets.

Oct 28, 2020 - Technology

Jack Dorsey: Twitter has no influence over elections

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Twitter does not have the ability to influence elections because there are ample additional sources of information, in response to questioning from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during a hearing Wednesday.

Between the lines: The claim is sure to stir irritation on both the right and left. Conservatives argue Twitter and Facebook's moderation decisions help Democrats, while liberals contend the platforms shy from effectively cracking down on misinformation to appease Republicans.

Oct 27, 2020 - Economy & Business

Artists target Facebook in complaint to policymakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Artist Rights Alliance, a non-profit advocating for music creators, has sent a letter to the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the state Attorneys General of Vermont and California, calling for an investigation into Facebook for refusing to take action on a fraudulent concert on its platform.

Details: The letter, obtained by Axios, asks policymakers to investigate Facebook for "participating in a scheme to defraud cellist Zoe Keating, an unknown number of her fans, and undoubtedly thousands of other working artists."