Facebook launches US voting information centre to prevent disinformation campaigns

It will serve as a one-stop-shop to give people in the US the tools and information they need to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

San Francisco: Facebook on Thursday launched a voting information centre as part of its campaign to help millions of voters register for November’s US presidential election and counter misinformation.

The hub accessed from the menu on Facebook and Instagram “will serve as a one-stop-shop to give people in the US the tools and information they need to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” the social media giant said.

It is the latest effort by the platform to prevent a repeat of the online disinformation that marred the 2016 US election.

Facebook said the voter information tool would also help people navigate the changes to voting procedures being brought in by various states due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is also important that we help protect the integrity of our elections,” the San Francisco-based social media giant said.

Facebook and Instagram users can use the tool to check if they are registered to vote and how to do so if they are not.

The social media group said it would from Thursday add labels to voting-related posts on Facebook and Instagram, after last month rolling them out for politicians.

It is also launching a “Voting Alerts” feature to help state and local election authorities communicate with voters about election-related updates.

“This will be increasingly critical as we get closer to the election, with potential late-breaking changes to the voting process that could impact voters,” Facebook said.

“Only pages from a government authority, not the personal page of an individual election official, are eligible to participate in this feature.”

Facebook’s latest moves come amid concerns over campaigns by governments aimed at influencing elections and public sentiment in other countries through media outlets that disguise their true origins.

State-led influence campaigns were prominent on social media during the 2016 US election and have been seen around the world.

Facebook said the Voting Information Center was another layer in its line of defense against election interference.

“By providing clear, accurate and authoritative information to people, we will continue to reduce the ability of malicious networks to take advantage of uncertainty around the pandemic to interfere with the election.

“We encourage people in the US to use this new resource and make their voices heard by voting this fall.”

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