Facebook begins labeling posts about voting from candidates

The company said the labels would be straightforward, linking to a U.S. government website that has voting information.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at forum to discuss "the challenges of protecting free speech while combating hate speech online, fighting misinformation, and political data privacy and security," at Georgetown University on Oct. 17, 2019.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at forum to discuss "the challenges of protecting free speech while combating hate speech online, fighting misinformation, and political data privacy and security," at Georgetown University on Oct. 17, 2019.Carlos Jasso / REUTERS

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By David Ingram

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said Thursday it was starting to put labels on posts about voting from federal elected officials and candidates, taking a page from Twitter’s playbook in fighting false election information.

The company said the labels would be straightforward, linking to a U.S. government website that has voting information. It won’t fact-check or otherwise pass judgment on the accuracy of candidates’ Facebook posts.

Posts from presidential candidates such as President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden would be covered.

In May, Twitter drew anger from the White House when it put a similar label on a Trump tweet about mail-in ballots. Trump had asserted without evidence that mail-in voting in November would be fraudulent, and the label from Twitter said, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” with a link to a curated set of information.

Labels on posts about voting from federal elected officials and candidates.Facebook

At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized Twitter’s move, saying internet services shouldn’t be “arbiters of truth.” But his comments angered some Facebook employees, and weeks later he reversed himself, saying in June that Facebook would add some labels after all.

Zuckerberg also said in June that the company was committed to removing anything that incites violence or suppresses voting “no matter where it comes from.”

Facebook said it’s building a website of its own with voting information and, eventually, will add labels to everyone’s posts about voting with a link to its own site.

Millions of Americans already vote by mail with no signs of widespread fraud, foreign or domestic, and election experts have said that Trump’s allegations of fraud are unfounded.