Facebook is taking sweeping precautionary measures ahead of the US presidential election, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday.
Among those measures is a freeze on new political ads during the week leading up to the November 3 presidential election.
The Trump campaign criticized the policy in a statement sent to Business Insider on Thursday.
"In the last seven days of the most important election in our history, President Trump will be banned from defending himself on the largest platform in America," Samantha Zager, the campaign's deputy national press secretary, said. "When millions of voters will be making their decisions, the President will be silenced by the Silicon Valley Mafia."
Facebook is taking a series of precautionary measures ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday morning, and one of those measures directly affects how both campaigns are able to advertise on Facebook.
"We're going to block new political and issue ads during the final week of the campaign," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
He added: "In the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims. So in the week before the election, we won't accept new political or issue ads."
Hours after the announcement, the Trump campaign criticized the new Facebook policy in a statement shared with Business Insider.
"In the last seven days of the most important election in our history, President Trump will be banned from defending himself on the largest platform in America," Samantha Zager, the Trump campaign's deputy national press secretary, said. "When millions of voters will be making their decisions, the President will be silenced by the Silicon Valley Mafia, who will at the same time allow corporate media to run their biased ads to swing voters in key states."
Facebook will still run political ads for both campaigns and various election-related issue campaigns in the week leading up to Election Day.
"Advertisers will be able to continue running ads they started running before the final week and adjust the targeting for those ads," Zuckerberg said. "But those ads will already be published transparently in our Ads Library so anyone, including fact-checkers and journalists, can scrutinize them."
The change in political-advertising policy comes amid a series of measures Facebook is taking ahead of the 2020 election.
One such measure is directed at the two presidential candidates and their campaigns: "If any candidate or campaign tries to declare victory before the results are in, we'll add a label to their post educating that official results are not yet in and directing people to the official results," Zuckerberg said.
The move, Zuckerberg said, is in anticipation of a "period of intense claims and counter-claims as the final results are counted."
With the coronavirus pandemic still spreading in the US, more voters than ever are expected to vote by mail during the upcoming presidential election. As a result, it's possible that the results won't be officially announced until after Election Day, which is November 3.
If any candidate or campaign attempts to declare victory before the official results are in, Facebook will label those claims.
Another measure Facebook is taking appears to more directly target Trump: "We will attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods, for example, by claiming that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud."
Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that voting by mail will lead to widespread election fraud, though the president used mail-in voting himself in recent elections and has encouraged his supporters to vote by mail.
The measures, Zuckerberg said, are intended to "encourage voting, connect people with authoritative information, and fight misinformation."
Notably, he said Facebook would stand by these measures in the run-up to the election.
"To ensure there are clear and consistent rules, we are not planning to make further changes to our election-related policies between now and the official declaration of the result," Zuckerberg said.
The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
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