Facebook has been
accused of running biased campaigns and siding with a political party during
elections in the past. Not just that, a Facebook chat group incited violence in
a public rally and the social site was criticized for not removing the group even
though the discussions were public.
In light of those and
recent events, Facebook has come up with a strategy that moves all the
accountability from them to the users: you will be able to “turn off” political
ads if you do not want to associate with them. So in the future, if Zuckerberg
is accused of picking sides, he can present this feature as a defense.
Facebook is also launching a new “Voting Information Centre” to guide people
about how to vote and will tell you about your polling station and other
options like email. The users will also be allowed to turn off notifications
that will serve as a reminder to vote.
In an article published
in USA Today, Mark Zuckerberg said that even though “many people want us to
moderate and remove more of [politicians’] content,” he believes
“accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are
“Voting is voice,”
writes Zuckerberg. “It’s the single most powerful expression of democracy, the
best way to hold our leaders accountable and how we address many of the issues
our country is grappling with.”
This alteration in
policy does little to bring the change people had hoped for. The company allows
politicians to blatantly lie in paid adverts to users and we are still not over
the fact that Zuckerberg ignored all the Trump posts where he threatened the
protesters of the Black Lives Movement. Instead of apologizing for his
company’s incompetency he actively defended the decision under the label of
“freedom of speech”.
Even Joe Biden couldn’t
resist criticizing Facebook and in an open letter to the company, he wrote that
allowing the politicians to post lies about their campaigns “[poses] a threat
to free and fair elections.”