Facebook reportedly prepping for possible post-election unrest

Internal tools will be used to slow the spread of viral content and suppress potentially inflammatory posts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Facebook reportedly has a plan in place to help calm any unrest that may arise after the US election.

Image by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Facebook has internal tools in place to help calm any unrest in the US that may break out following the election, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The tools, previously used in so-called "at-risk" countries, will help slow the spread of viral content and suppress potentially inflammatory posts, the Journal reported.

Facebook said it's spent years working toward safer and more secure elections.

"We've applied lessons from previous elections, hired experts and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We've created new products, partnerships and policies -- such as pausing post-election ads -- to ensure we're more prepared than ever for the unique challenges of an election during a global pandemic."

Facebook has struggled to deal with moderating content across all aspects of its massive platform, which reaches more than 2 billion people. Problems include failing to prevent reuploads of video of the New Zealand mass shooting, helping fuel the 2017 genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, issues with stopping disinformation on WhatsApp and anti-vaccination conspiracy theories spreading on Instagram. The world's largest social network has faced an uphill battle when it comes to stopping abuse.

Read more: How to vote in the 2020 election

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in September that the US presidential election "is not going to be business as usual," adding that he was "worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country."

A few days later, he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced the would commit $300 million to support voting and election infrastructure in the US ahead of the November election

Facebook said in early October it would take down content that seeks to intimidate voters, including posts that encourage people to engage in unauthorized poll watching. The company will also direct users to accurate election results through notifications and labels after the polls close in November.