Facebook removed pages linked to former Trump advisor Steve Bannon due to the tricks they employ to increase their reach.
“We’ve removed several clusters of activity for using inauthentic behavior tactics to artificially boost how many people saw their content,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “That includes a Group that was originally named ‘Stop the Steal’ which later became ‘Gay Communists for Socialism’ and misled people about its purpose using deceptive tactics.”
Bannon’s spokeswoman did not give any immediate comment.
Facebook removed pages tied to Bannon after Twitter permanently suspended an account owned by him.
Facebook routinely deactivates networks of pages created to mislead social media users with disinformation. The company describes these operations as systemic inauthentic behavior, and the company announces the removal of new networks on a monthly basis. In July, the social media giant also took down a network of coordinated inauthentic behavior associated with Republican operative Roger Stone.
Facebook’s measures during the U.S. election
Facebook has implemented several measures in recent weeks to give users accurate information about the U.S. election.
In September, Facebook announced that it would not accept any new political ads in the seven days prior to the U.S. election.
While it won’t accept new political ads during this period prior to the election, Facebook decided to allow existing ads to continue to be promoted and targeted at different users. The decision was announced in a post by Facebook chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg.
According to Zuckerberg, he was “worried” about divisions in the country potentially leading to civil unrest. He also mentioned that the platform will also label posts from candidates attempting to declare victory prior to the final vote count.
ast year, the social media platform faced massive criticism due to its policy of not fact-checking political ads.
During Facebook’s third-quarter earnings report, Zuckerberg argued “we need to be careful about adopting more and more rules” surrounding political speech.
Zuckerberg said: “In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians or the news.”
He then proceeded by saying that he will “continue” evaluating whether it is beneficial to allow political ads on Facebook, but that so far he concludes that allowing political advertising is the better choice.
He also pointed out that political advertising will only account for less than 0.5 percent of the company’s revenue in 2020, implying that despite criticism over Facebook’s policies, the company reaps very little financial benefits from the stance.
In October, Facebook announced that its apps helped 4.4 million people register to vote for the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.
According to the company’s estimates, it helped 2 million people register in 2016 and 2018.
The increase in the numbers suggests that social media companies are reaching more potential voters. Earlier in the year, Facebook launched a voting information center to present resources about voting, such as how to register and how to vote.
According to the information center, the election results would not be accessible for days or weeks after Nov. 3. due to the coronavirus pandemic and an increased number of people voting by mail. There is also a message pinned at the top of users’ feeds with details about the election, such as voting deadlines.