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Facebook plans an election panel

The move would allow the social network to shift some of its political decision-making to an advisory body
The proposed commission could decide on matters such as the viability of political ads and what to do about election-related misinformation, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential.

Ryan Mac, Mike Isaac, Sheera Frenkel   |   New York   |   Published 27.08.21, 01:22 AM

Facebook has approached academics and policy experts about forming a commission to advise it on global election-related matters, said five people with knowledge of the discussions, a move that would allow the social network to shift some of its political decision-making to an advisory body.

The proposed commission could decide on matters such as the viability of political ads and what to do about election-related misinformation, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential. Facebook is expected to announce the commission this fall in preparation for the 2022 mid-term elections, they said, though the effort is preliminary and could still fall apart.

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Outsourcing election matters to a panel of experts could help Facebook sidestep criticism of bias by political groups, two of the people said. The company has been blasted in recent years by conservatives, who have accused Facebook of suppressing their voices, as well as by civil rights groups and Democrats for allowing political misinformation to fester and spread online. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, does not want to be seen as the sole decision maker on political content, two of the people said.

If an election commission is formed, it would emulate the step Facebook took in 2018 when it created what it calls the Oversight Board.

New York Times News Service



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