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October 2, 2020updated 05 Oct 2020 9:18am

Facebook will label Trump election victory misinformation: Nick Clegg

By Lucy Ingham

Claims that Donald Trump has won the US presidential election prior to the vote being finalised will come with a warning on Facebook, Nick Clegg has said.

Speaking at TNW2020, the former UK deputy prime minister and now VP of global affairs and communications at Facebook, said that any attempts to declare victory prematurely will be clearly marked on the platform.

“If Donald Trump or indeed anybody else were to declare victory prematurely before the official results are certified, all users will see a very positive label on that post where that premature victory has been claimed making it quite clear to our users that the results have not yet been officially finalised,” said Clegg.

“In other words, the label that we provide to our users will in effect just contradict whatever claims are made by Donald Trump or indeed any other politician seeking to declare victory prematurely.”

This scenario is particularly likely given that the length of time to declare an official winner is expected to be longer than in previous elections – and because Trump has repeatedly signalled that he will defy attempts to declare Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the winner.

Clegg also said that Facebook is taking steps to make voters aware of the likely delay in results prior to the election.

“We’re explaining to them on a daily basis that this time, they should expect that the results under certain circumstances may be much slower in being finalised than previously,” he said.

“By doing so we hope that over 160 million Americans will see that information through our voter information centre, that a certain degree of knowledge and resilience will be established amongst at least users of Facebook before November 3, so that they know what to expect in what may be the tumultuous days and weeks after November 3.”

Nick Clegg: Facebook can’t stop Trump election misinformation

Clegg rejected suggestions that labelling was a weak approach to election misinformation spread by Donald Trump, adding that “removal is necessary and effective at times” and that Facebook had on “numerous occasions” removed material from Donald Trump.

“No politician can break our community standards and whether it’s President Bolsonaro spreading false rumours about cures for Covid or the Trump campaign running ads which break our census misinformation rules, we take that down.”

However, he accepted that Trump was undermining faith in the US presidential election, arguing that Facebook was not able to stop this.

“He’s doing that on all platforms, on all media and he did that on national and international television on the first presidential debate,” he said.

“We cannot, no one can, stop Donald Trump or, indeed, anybody else saying what they say. What we do is either remove or label.”

Read more: Brittany Kaiser: Facebook should ban Trump disinformation


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