Facebook has began including informational labels to all posts about voting by federal elected officers and candidates within the US, because it said it could do. But the transfer seems to be sowing confusion somewhat than dispelling it.
This week, the social community utilized labels to posts by Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, amongst others. The easy labels “get official voting info” and direct folks to a hub with info from authoritative election sources reminiscent of state and native officers.
The intention, as Facebook laid it out in late June, was to offer hyperlinks to unbiased details about when and the right way to vote on election-related posts. Instead, although, they’re being misinterpreted — in some circumstances as an endorsement of deceptive or false claims.
Trump’s Tuesday morning Facebook post : “Mail-In Voting, unless changed by the courts, will lead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History! #RIGGEDELECTION.” Facebook’s label, positioned under the post, says “Get official voting info on how to vote in the 2020 US Election at usa.gov” and directs folks to the federal government web site’s part on absentee and early voting and voting amid the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Facebook labeled at the very least two Biden posts in 24 hours. In one, the previous vp put “the Kremlin and other foreign governments on notice” about interfering in US elections. Another requested for donations, noting that “it may be hard to believe, but we have just over 100 days until Election Day.”
“There is inherently no problem with Facebook deciding to add labels to all posts about elections and voting,” said Nina Brown, a professor at Syracuse University who research misinformation. But Facebook “missed the chance to take action in a transparent and significant method.”
When it introduced the rollout of the labels last week, Facebook said they aren’t a judgment “of whether the posts themselves are accurate, but we want people to have access to authoritative information either way.”
That could also be the issue, Brown said.
“Facebook is so reluctant to be seen as weighing in on an issue or as favoring one politician or another,” she said. “So instead of just false posts, it will label all posts. But social media users are not used to seeing flags on content that is not problematic.”
When Twitter labeled a post about mail-in voting by Trump — incomes the president’s ire — it seemed like a warning label, one punctuated with a circled exclamation mark and ing, “Get the facts about mail in ballots.” Rather than label each politician’s tweet about voting, Twitter is just doing it with these which might be false or deceptive. This, Brown said, had the supposed impact.
Facebook, in the meantime, has “tried to act as this neutral arbiter,” she said, including that it could in the end do extra hurt than good.
Further including to the confusion, Facebook additionally introduced in June that it’ll begin labeling all “newsworthy” posts from politicians that break its guidelines, together with these from Trump. But that is a distinct label, not the one on election posts, which don’t at present break Facebook’s guidelines, even when they’re false.