Facebook Prepared For Wider Content Crackdowns If US Election Sees Violence


(Benzinga) – Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) is considering putting to use internal tools the company has designed for “at-risk” countries to combat any conflict that rises around the presidential election in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

What Happened: The tools were previously used in countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka and are geared to slow down the spread of viral content and curtail inflammatory posts, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Facebook’s tools would only be deployed in extreme circumstances, such as if election-related violence was to take place, according to unnamed sources of the Journal.

A company spokesman, Andy Stone, told the Journal that Facebook had “spent years” preparing for safer elections.

“We’ve applied lessons from previous elections, hired experts, and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios,” said Stone.

Why It Matters: Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that Facebook needed to be “doing everything” to “reduce the chances of violence or civil unrest in the wake of this election,” Axios reported.

Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) faced flak this month over restricting a New York Post story related to Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his alleged interaction with a Ukrainian businessman.

The platforms incurred the wrath of Republican politicians, including President Donald Trump, who called for a repeal of a law that gives social media companies protection from liabilities arising from the content posted by third-party users on their platforms.

Price Action: Facebook shares closed 2.4% higher at $284.79 on Friday and gained 0.53% in the after-hours session.


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