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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

As America prepares for an online census for the first time next year, Facebook has announced to ban misleading information about when and how to participate in the census and the consequences of participating.

The social networking giant also introduced a new advertising policy that prohibits ads that portray census participation as useless or meaningless or advise people not to participate in the census.


“We have to be more vigilant about protecting against census interference across posts and ads on Facebook and Instagram and help promote an accurate count of every person in the country,” said Kevin Martin, Vice President of the US Public Policy and Samidh Chakrabarti, Director of Product Management, Civic Engagement.

Facebook will begin enforcing the policy next month and use a combination of technology and people to proactively identify content that may violate this policy.

“As with voter interference, content that violates our census interference policy will not be allowed to remain on our platforms as newsworthy even if posted by a politician,” said the company, indicating for the first time that it may ban election ads too in due course of time.

The census interference policy will prohibit misrepresentation of the dates, locations, times and methods for census participation and misrepresentation of who can participate in the census and what information and/or materials must be provided in order to participate.


The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

“It will also block content stating that census participation may or will result in law enforcement consequences and misrepresentation of government involvement in the census,” said Facebook.

“Content that does not violate this policy, but may still be inaccurate, will be eligible for fact-checking by our third-party partners and, if rated false, will have more prominent labels and will be ranked lower in News Feed,” it added.

The new advertising policy prohibits ads that portray census participation as useless or meaningless or advise people not to participate in the census.

Also Read: Twitter for iPad Update Brings Much-needed Redesigned User Interface

In addition, ads about the census will be subject to the increased transparency requirements for issue ads.

“This means any advertiser who wants to run an ad about the census will have to complete our strengthened authorisation process for ads about social issues, elections or politics and include a disclaimer on such ads so people know who paid for them,” informed Facebook. (IANS)


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