Facebook bans ‘militarized’ calls for poll watchers ahead of election day

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Facebook is banning posts involving “militarized” calls for poll watchers ahead of election day on Nov. 3.

The social media company outlined the new policy in a blog post Wednesday as part of its ongoing efforts to remove attempts at voter suppression from its website.

Facebook will “remove calls for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters,” wrote Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, in the post.

“We thank the civil rights experts and community members who continue to help us understand trends in this area and we look forward to continuing to work with them,” he went on.

The measure comes after Donald Trump Jr. last month posted a video message on the official Team Trump Facebook page calling for “every able-bodied man, woman” to join a poll watching “army.”

The post is still live on the page.

“When we apply our policies, we generally apply them going forward,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy, NBC News reported.

The policy adds to Facebook’s existing practice of removing posts organizing a coordinated interference in voting, or for calls to bring weapons to polling sites.

Facebook will also temporarily stop all political ads on its platforms after polls close on Nov. 3 in an effort to brace for prolonged uncertainty as mail-in votes are counted.

“For example, when polls close, we will run a notification at the top of Facebook and Instagram and apply labels to candidates’ posts directing people to the Voting Information Center for more information about the vote-counting process,” Rosen wrote.

“But, if a candidate or party declares premature victory before a race is called by major media outlets,” he went on, “we will add more specific information in the notifications that counting is still in progress and no winner has been determined.”

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