Facebook Will Remove ‘Militarized’ Calls for Unauthorized Poll Watchers

Facebook said Wednesday it will remove posts that use “militarized language” to call for people to participate in poll watching or when the intent behind the posts is to intimidate voters, according to a CNN report.

Posts that use the word “army” or “battle” or that are implicitly threatening would fall under the ban, said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy, on a call with reporters.

The policy change comes after Donald Trump Jr.posted a video online last month and called on people to “enlist” in an “army” for his father’s “election security operation.”

Throughout this election year, Facebook has been criticized for being too lenient on posts with military-style language. Last month, Facebook and Twitter applied contextual labels to Trump Jr’s video pointing to accurate information about voting, but neither company said the video was eligible for removal under their guidelines.

Bickert confirmed that under the new policy, Trump’s video would be removed if it were posted again. Existing copies of the video posted to Facebook will be unaffected by the rule.

“We are training our teams in applying those policies, and it’ll be my team looking at that content as we make those decisions,” Bickert said.

Facebook also said it would temporarily stop running political ads in the United States after polls close on Nov. 3. The restrictions will also apply to political ads that began running prior to Election Day.

“After the polls close on Nov. 3, we’re going to stop running all political and issues ads to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity.

Facebook’s action is similar to one that Google adopted last month for ads on its services, including YouTube. It is unclear how long the moratorium could last.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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