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Facebook to flag posts, advertisements including misinformation about 2020 Census

By Daniel Uria

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Facebook announced Thursday that it will institute policies to flag posts and advertisements that contain misinformation about the 2020 U.S. Census.

Beginning next month, the social media network will employ both technology and human employees to review and proactively identify content that may violate this new policy by misrepresenting important information about the date, time, purpose and impact of the Census, Facebook's Vice President of Public Policy Kevin Martin and Director of Product Management Civic Engagement Samidh Chakrabarti wrote in a blog post.

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"All content surfaced will be assessed by a team of reviewers who will benefit from the training and guidance of a consultant with census expertise. And as with voter interference, content that violates our census interference policy will not be allowed to remain on our platforms as newsworthy even if posted by a politician," they wrote.

The policy will prohibit misrepresentation of the dates, locations, times and methods for census participation, of who can participate in the census and what information must be provided and of government involvement in the census.

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It also prohibits content stating that participation in the census may or will result in law enforcement consequences and calls for coordinated interference that would affect an individual's ability to participate in the census.

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Content that doesn't violate these guidelines but is determined to be inaccurate will be subject to the company's previously instituted policies that require it be submitted to third-party fact-checkers and be subject to more prominent labels about its contents and a lower ranking in users' feeds.

Additionally, advertisements about the census will be subject to its transparency requirements for issue ads, which require the inclusion of a disclaimer allowing users to know who funded them.

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Facebook is also working with the U.S. Census Bureau and other experts by providing them access to a tool the social network uses to track how content spreads online in addition to assembling a team to protect and promote the census and engaging in real-time monitoring to allow it to quickly address any abuse.

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