Facebook Shares New 2020 Election Report
Facebook Inc. told U.S. lawmakers it blocked or removed 265,000 posts for violating the social network’s policies against voter interference and rejected 3.3 million ad submissions as part of its effort to protect the recent U.S. elections against misinformation and foreign influence.
The action was cited in a 22-page report summarizing the company’s election work that was distributed Friday to a wide array of members of Congress as well as officials in the Trump administration and the team of President-elect Joe Biden. Facebook had previously publicized many of its actions cited in the report.
The report also mentions Facebook’s voter registration efforts and removal of coordinated influence campaigns. It ends by repeating a familiar Facebook request that lawmakers in Washington write more rules and regulations for the internet so that job isn’t left up to companies like Facebook.
Elections in the future “must include rules set by governing democracies, not private companies, on a range of critical issues,” Facebook said in the report. “Next year, we hope progress can be made in Washington, D.C., in updating the rules of the internet.”
Facebook has faced intense scrutiny for its handling of elections, and the company was under a microscope in the months leading up to November. While Facebook unknowingly allowed Russian trolls to buy ads and share divisive posts during the 2016 campaign, much of the criticism this time related to how the company policed user-generated posts, including those from politicians and candidates.
Republicans criticized Facebook for being too aggressive in removing and flagging posts, claiming it was infringing on free expression. Facebook’s decision to suppress the distribution of a New York Post article that was believed to be damaging to Biden led to two congressional hearings with Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.
Democrats, meanwhile, said Facebook didn’t do enough to police its service, specifically posts from President Donald Trump that his political opponents said contained misinformation violating the social network’s rules. The Biden campaign regularly complained to Facebook about its handling of Trump’s account, emails show.
Facebook is still under scrutiny in Washington. The Federal Trade Commission sued the company last week, alleging the company engaged in anticompetitive behavior when it acquired companies including Instagram and WhatsApp.