Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg braces for civil unrest

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 30 2020 12:32 PM

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Brendan Smialowski, AFP/file

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday warned of the potential for civil unrest as votes are tallied in a US election that will be "a test" for the social network.

Zuckerberg expressed his concern while describing safeguards against misinformation and voter suppression at the leading social network that are intended to avoid the kinds of deception and abuse that played out four years ago.

"I'm worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or weeks to be finalized there is a risk of civil unrest," said Zuckerberg, who had also been grilled during a session on Capitol Hill earlier this week.

"Given this, companies like ours need to go well beyond what we've done before."

Confusion early this week over political ads at Facebook marred the onset of what was supposed to be a cooling-off period ahead of the US presidential election November 3.

Rival parties complained Facebook was undermining campaign efforts after blunders arose around a ban on new paid political ads being published in the week before Election Day.

"We're investigating the issues of some ads being paused incorrectly, and some advertisers having trouble making changes to their campaigns," Facebook product manager Rob Leathern said in a tweet when the ban kicked in Tuesday.

Political ad publishers can sidestep the ban by getting the advertisements loaded into Facebook prior to the deadline, and then disseminating them to a wider audience later.

California-based Facebook has tightened its rules on political advertising ahead of the 2020 election in other ways too, including prohibiting attempts to undermine the electoral process.

In the Facebook paid posts library -- a list viewable by the public -- for President Donald Trump's campaign, what appeared to be a victory ad is already visible.

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