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Facebook Reportedly Prepping for Post-Election Unrest



(Photo by Sean Rayford via Getty Images)

With only eight days until the US presidential election, Facebook is bracing for the inevitable post-results fallout.

The social network has reportedly readied internal tools that slow the spread of viral content and lower the bar for “suppressing potentially inflammatory posts,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The tools—designed for “at-risk” countries, and previously employed in Sri Lanka and Myanmar—will be wielded only in dire situations, like election-related violence. Facebook simply wants to be prepared for “all possibilities,” WSJ said, citing people familiar with the planning.

“We’ve spent years building for safer, more secure elections,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told the newspaper. “We’ve applied lessons from previous elections, hired experts, and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios.”

No matter the election outcome, users can expect a flurry of activity online. There is a fine line, however, between blocking exposure to sensationalism, incitements to violence, and misinformation and suppressing sincere political discussion.

“We need to be doing everything we can to reduce the chances of violence or civil unrest in the wake of this election,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Axios last month. Global head of communications and policy, Nick Clegg, later revealed that the company created “break-glass tools” in the event of a crisis.

Facebook has taken extra care to avoid the same mistakes it made in 2016, announcing a ban on new political ads one week before polling day and promising to temporarily stop running political, electoral, and social issue ads in the US on Nov. 3—after the election is over.

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