Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new Facebook feature in the run-up to the 2020 US election, which allows users to remove political adverts from their feeds.
Facebook has received heavy criticism over the past decade, and especially during the most recent US election, for promoting political adverts that contained false information.
The launch of Facebook’s new feature will allow users to turn off political, electoral and social issue adverts from political candidates that previously were featured on the feed with ‘Paid for’ political disclaimers.
In USA Today, Zuckerberg wrote: “For those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you — so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.”
This feature will aso allow users to block and report political features, an option that will be made available on the partner social network site, Instagram.
Facebook began rolling out the feature to some users on June 17 and plans to make it available across the US within the next few weeks. The feature will also become available in countries all over the world this autumn.
Last October, Twitter also banned political advertising and promotion, to prevent misleading information spreading to the public.
Zuckerberg said he hoped to help four million Americans sign up to vote by the election in November:
“Voting is voice,” he said. “It’s the single most powerful expression of democracy, the best way to hold our leaders accountable, and how we address many of the issues our country is grappling with.
“I believe Facebook has a responsibility not just to prevent voter suppression — which disproportionately targets people of colour — but to actively support well-informed voter engagement, registration, and turnout.”
The Voting Information Center, which will provide details on how to register to vote, is a new initiative that will be promoted on American users’ Facebook and Instagram feeds, and is estimated to reach 160 million Americans by November.