Image: Drew Angerer / getty
As the U.S. presidential election approaches, tech companies' responsibility to halt misinformation has become all the more pressing. To that end, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that Facebook will announce on Wednesday "the largest voting information campaign in American history."
It still won't be taking down Trump's incendiary posts, though.
In a USA Today op-ed, Zuckerberg revealed Facebook is introducing a Voting Information Center to share election information with potential voters. This resource will appear at the top of the not-media company's News Feed as well as on Instagram, and will include information on how and when to vote, voter registration, voting by mail, and voting early.
"We'll also include posts from state election officials and verified local election authorities," wrote Zuckerberg.
Facebook hopes the Voting Information Center will reach over 160 million people in the U.S. between July and November, and aims to help 4 million people register to vote. Zuckerberg further noted Facebook will continue to share election reminders and postal voting information as it had during the primaries.
The ability to turn off political ads on Facebook is also being introduced, which may help if you need some relief from this nightmare election cycle soaked in racism and police brutality and rolled in a deadly pandemic.
However, like a dodgy renovator, Facebook still won't remove the tragically-haired toxic mould from its walls before attempting to paint over it. Instead, Zuckerberg continued to justify the company's much-maligned decision to continue hosting President Donald Trump's inflammatory posts, despite the condemnation of the public, Facebook's employees, and even 140 scientists funded by him.
"Everyone wants to see politicians held accountable for what they say — and I know many people want us to moderate and remove more of their content. We have rules against speech that will cause imminent physical harm or suppress voting, and no one is exempt from them," wrote Zuckerberg, before immediately explaining why Trump is exempt from them. "But accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are saying, even if we viscerally dislike what they say."
Earlier this month, Zuckerberg privately expressed disgust at Trump's Facebook post about shooting protesters, but still refused to take any action against him. Inaction normalizes such sentiments, provides a rallying point for those who share them, and leads to an increase in discriminatory abuse. By giving such comments a platform, Facebook is deeming them acceptable, which does immeasurably more harm than good. Zuckerberg just won't admit it.
"Ultimately, I believe the best way to hold politicians accountable is through voting, and I believe we should trust voters to make judgments for themselves," continued Zuckerberg, committing to serving said voters mounds of hate alongside information on how to cast their ballot. "I believe Facebook is supporting and strengthening our democracy in 2020 and beyond."
And children believe in Santa.