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Facebook launches drive to register 4M voters by November

By Don Jacobson
Facebook launches drive to register 4M voters by November
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in Congress in Washington, D.C., on October 23, 2019. Facebook plans to begin a voter registration campaign to boost participation in November's elections. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

June 17 (UPI) -- Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday the company is launching a campaign to register millions of voters across its social platforms.

The initiative includes creating a "Voting Information Center" with information on how and when to vote, details about registration, voting by mail and information about early voting.

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The drive aims to register 4 million voters across the Facebook and Instagram platforms.

In an op-ed for USA Today Wednesday, Zuckerberg called the effort the "largest voting information campaign in American history" through which his company hopes to register voters ahead of November's presidential election.

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"The 2020 election is going to be unlike any other," he wrote. "It was already going to be a heated campaign, and that was before the pandemic -- and before the killing of George Floyd and so many others forced us yet again to confront the painful reality of systemic racism in America.

"People want accountability, and in a democracy the ultimate way we do that is through voting.

"We'll also include posts from state election officials and verified local election authorities. We'll show this center at the top of the Facebook News Feed and on Instagram to make sure everyone gets a chance to see it."

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The Facebook founder acknowledged criticism in recent years over Facebook's reluctance to intervene and police hate speech online and remove misinformation.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and other civil rights groups on Wednesday called for a corporate advertising boycott of Facebook next month due to its "unwillingness" to target hate speech.

"I know many people want us to moderate and remove more of their content," Zuckerberg answered. "We have rules against speech that will cause imminent physical harm or suppress voting, and no one is exempt from them."

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"But," he added, "accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are saying, even if we viscerally dislike what they say."

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