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By Rachel Kaser
Facebook today announced it’s tackling the most basic form of fake news to circulate around the time of an election: Voter misinformation and anything that might keep users away from the voting booths this fall.
Specifically, the company revealed it would be removing posts that encourage “voter suppression” — anything that might deter or prevent people from voting. So posts that imply others shouldn’t vote, or attempting to feed them incorrect information on the voting process in their region, would fall into that category.
According to Jessica Leinwand, the company’s public policy manager, basic misinformation about voting booths, voting dates, and the like are already against the site’s rules. It’s just expanded the rules to encompass more insidious forms of misinformation. Facebook has introduced a new reporting option so that users can get in on the cleanup as well.
Facebook is waging an ongoing war against political misinformation — perhaps in part as an act of penance for its role in the spreading of same in the 2016 election. Mark Zuckerberg recently published a lengthy screedabout the role Facebook played in the prevention — or lack thereof — of election interference and essentially asked for help managing this year.
This new reporting option is presumably part of that effort to get more help in deterring would-be election interference. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s nice to know there’s a particular option you can choose if you find one of these subtle forms of fake news.
That said, Facebook seems to be doing at least a passable job by itself. Recent data breach notwithstanding, the site’s anti-fake news minions recently removed hundreds of pages and accounts that were spreading misinformation.
Rachel Kaser is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas.