Facebook Vows to Restrict ‘Circulation of Content’ if Election Becomes Chaotic

'This election is not going to be business as usual...'

Facebook is already planning to “restrict,” as in, censor, “the circulation of content” on its platform if the 2020 election becomes too chaotic, according to the Financial Times.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, said that the social-media giant is prepared to limit what is shared if the election results throw the U.S. into civic unrest.

There are several “political dilemmas” Facebook is preparing for, he said—and many of them involve unrest, especially since the final results won’t be clear until weeks after Election Day.

Clegg did not explain how Facebook would restrict content, but he did cite the company’s “aggressive” actions in other countries and said that the company is willing to go take “exceptional measures” to prevent chaotic and violent circumstances from arising.

Clegg was likely referring to Facebook’s role during periods of unrest in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, when the social-media platform reduced the reach of content shared by rule-breakers and limited the distribution of content deemed “sensationalist.”

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, Clegg, and several other top executives will be on the team making the decision come Election Day, Clegg added.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has involved itself in the election.

Earlier this month, the platform announced it would ban political advertisements in the week ahead of the election to prevent misinformation from spreading after earlier pledging to allow them.

Such actions were an attempt to “secure the integrity of this year’s election,” the company explained.

“This election is not going to be business as usual,” Zuckerberg aid in a Sept. 3 Facebook post.

“We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy,” he continued. “That means helping people register and vote, clearing up confusion about how this election will work, and taking steps to reduce the chances of violence and unrest.”


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