Facebook spars with voting election officials over 2020 misinformation

Political ad spending is surging for the US election, with digital campaigns -- led by Facebook -- accounting for nearly one-fifth of the total, researchers said on February 12, 2020.

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Political ad spending is surging for the US election, with digital campaigns -- led by Facebook -- accounting for nearly one-fifth of the total, researchers said on February 12, 2020.

State and local officials in at least five states have recently sparred with Facebook while trying – and sometimes failing – to remove false election information or post accurate notifications of their own on the platform, according to interviews and emails obtained by USA TODAY.  

Last December, for instance, the state election board in Oklahoma told Facebook that proposed language for a public service announcement was inaccurate.

The board feared that the registration deadline reminder – written by Facebook – could lead to people missing the deadline and it urged the company to adopt different wording.

“We don’t want someone to be disenfranchised because they misunderstand a Facebook reminder,” Misha Mohr, the agency’s public information officer, told the company in a series of emails. “We think Facebook’s heart is in the right place on this. We just think it is important that Oklahomans get correct information.”

But for almost a month, Facebook refused to change the notification because its legal department had already signed off on the language. 

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