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Facebook bans U.S. ads that call voting fraud widespread or election invalid

Joseph Menn
·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration
FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration

By Joseph Menn

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc on Wednesday banned ads on its flagship website and Instagram photo and video sharing service that claim widespread voting fraud, suggest U.S. election results would be invalid, or which attack any method of voting.

The company announced the new rules in a blog post, adding to earlier restrictions on premature claims of election victory.

The move came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump used the first televised debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden to amplify his baseless claims that the Nov. 3 presidential election will be "rigged."

Trump has been especially critical of mail-in ballots, and he cited a number of small unrelated incidents to argue that fraud was already happening at scale.

Facebook has been under fire for refusing to fact-check political ads more broadly and for rampant organic misinformation.

Citing hate speech rules, it also moved Wednesday to remove Trump campaign ads suggesting that immigrants could be a significant source of coronavirus infections.

Facebook said the new election ad prohibition would include those that "portray voting or census participation as useless/meaningless" or that "delegitimize any lawful method or process of voting or voting tabulation ... as illegal, inherently fraudulent or corrupt."

Facebook also cited ads that call an election fraudulent or corrupt because the result was unclear on election night or because ballots received afterward were still being counted.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Sandra Maler and Richard Chang)