Facebook hopes to help millions of Americans register to vote

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SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Facebook said Tuesday it plans to help four million Americans register to vote, and insists it can be a positive force in the presidential election later this year.

The move comes amid renewed scrutiny of the social media giant for failing to stem foreign interference in the 2016 US election, and after heated debate over how the network handles misinformation and inflammatory posts — including from Donald Trump.

Mark Zuckerberg has been strongly criticized for his company’s decision to not moderate controversial, incendiary and inaccurate posts by US President.

Zuckerberg, in an opinion piece published by USA Today, announced a Facebook campaign “to help 4 million people register to vote.”

He said the social network was creating a new hub for users, allowing them to access “authoritative information, including how and when to vote, as well as details about voter registration, voting by mail and information about early voting.”

Addressing foreign interference, Zuckerberg wrote that the threat “is real and ongoing, but our systems are more prepared than ever.”

Facebook first announced the voter hub at the beginning of June, as well as promising to review its policies that led to the decision to not moderate controversial messages.

But in the USA Today piece, Zuckerberg again defended the network’s guidelines.

Facebook has “rules against speech that will cause imminent physical harm or suppress voting, and no one is exempt from them,” he wrote.

“But accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are saying, even if we viscerally dislike what they say.”

The best way to ultimately hold politicians accountable is by voting, Zuckerberg wrote.

But for Facebook users who have already made up their minds “and just want the election to be over,” the network is “also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.”

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