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Facebook to label all voting-related posts, not just President Trump’s

Johannes Berg/Photographer: Johannes Berg/Bloo

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. will begin labeling all posts that include information about voting with a link encouraging users to get facts from the company’s new voting hub, and expanded its prohibition on hate speech in advertising.

The new policy on voting announced Friday by Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg means Facebook will label future posts from U.S President Donald Trump, and everyone else, about mail-in ballots or other voting-related issues, regardless of whether they contain misleading information. Facebook will funnel users to a voting information hub meant to provide facts from state authorities. Users will also be able to register to vote using this hub. Facebook has set a goal of helping register 4 million new voters before the 2020 U.S. election in November.

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“There are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today,” Zuckerberg said.

The social network has been criticized in recent weeks for allowing false or misleading voting information, including posts from Trump about mail-in ballots that Twitter Inc. flagged as inaccurate. Zuckerberg has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to remove posts from elected officials, but would rather let users to make up their minds about the content.

A number of civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, are among those unhappy with Facebook’s history of allowing posts they say encourage voter suppression. Those groups have organized a Facebook advertising boycott for the month of July, and a number of well-known consumer brands are participating, including outdoor gear company Patagonia, Verizon Communications Inc. and Unilever.

Facebook will now prohibit ads that paint anyone from a certain race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation as dangerous. The company will expand those policies to better protect immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads that say these groups of people are inferior.

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The company will also label posts that it keeps up even though they violate policies, if they come from a newsworthy source, such as the president. “We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society -- but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies,” Zuckerberg said.