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Web Foundation statement on Facebook’s election information efforts

Web Foundation · June 17, 2020

Today, Facebook announced a number of steps as part of its voter information efforts ahead of the US November 2020 election. These include encouraging users to vote, transparency around who pays for political ads and an option for users to turn off political advertising on Facebook products.

Web Foundation Director of Policy, Emily Sharpe, responded to the announcement:

“The web must be a force for good, and we support efforts to encourage voting and participation in the democratic process. Facebook’s announcement to launch a new Voter Information Center is an example of how tech companies should develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst.

“But Facebook hasn’t gone far enough to tackle the issue at the heart of supporting accurate voter information: micro-targeted political ads. By taking action on this key issue Facebook could do much more to help ensure the upcoming US presidential election and other elections around the world are free and fair. 

“The Web Foundation is renewing its call for Facebook to suspend micro-targeted political ads globally.

“Social media platforms have a profound impact on democracy and elections. Narrowly targeted online advertising is now perhaps the most powerful tool that campaigns have to persuade voters and win elections. To uphold the integrity of democratic elections, all social media platforms must ensure their tools are designed to support free and fair political processes.”

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