Our Goal Is to Help 4 Million People Register to Vote
Facebook was built to empower people by giving them a voice and voting is one of the most powerful ways to make their voice heard. With the US elections less than five months away, today Facebook is launching the largest voting information campaign in American history. We’re building a new Voting Information Center that will give millions of people accurate information about voting, while also giving them the tools they need to register and make their voices heard at the ballot box. Our goal is to help register 4 million voters this year using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, and help them get to the polls so they can hold our leaders accountable. This goal is double the estimated 2 million people we helped register in both 2018 and 2016.
COVID-19 has forced many states to make changes to voting, creating uncertainty in the minds of some voters and opportunities for election interference. We surveyed potential voters and 62% said they believe people will need more information on how to vote this year than they needed in previous elections. We’ve built some of the most advanced systems in the world to combat election interference. The Voting Information Center will be another line of defense. By getting clear, accurate and authoritative information to people, we reduce the effectiveness of malicious networks that might try to take advantage of uncertainty and interfere with the election.
The Voting Information Center will also be a place where people can get information about registering to vote, or requesting an absentee or mail-in ballot, depending on the rules in their state. People will also be able to see local election alerts from their officials about changes to the voting process. Our intention is simple but ambitious: to help every eligible voter in the US who uses our platform vote this year.
In March, we created our COVID-19 Information Center, which has been providing trusted information from health authorities about the pandemic. Now we’re using the same approach to help people vote this year.
We are also working with state election officials and other experts to ensure the Voting Information Center accurately reflects the latest information in each state. The information we highlight will change to meet the needs of voters as we move into different phases of the election like registration periods, deadlines to request a vote-by-mail ballot, the start of early voting, and Election Day.
The Voting Information Center will include:
- Posts from verified local election authorities with announcements and changes to the voting process. People can also choose to receive notifications for these alerts.
- Guidance on registration and who’s eligible to vote.
- Information on how to request an absentee ballot (vote by mail), guidance for military and overseas voters, and dates and polling places for early voting.
- Information and links to help people plan their vote on Election Day, including when to vote, where to vote, and whether there are ID requirements.
Starting this summer, we will put the Voting Information Center at the top of people’s Facebook and Instagram feeds. We expect more than 160 million people in the US will see this authoritative information about how to vote in the general election from July through November.
We’re also working on updates to the registration reminders, vote-by-mail information, and election day reminders that we’ve run throughout the primaries. These updates will make it even easier for people to find reliable information about participating in the election and share it with their friends across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. We’ll have more to share here soon.
More Control and Transparency for Political Ads
Political ads play an important role in every election – and this year will be no exception. People have told us they want the option to see fewer political ads on Facebook and Instagram. After announcing this feature earlier this year we are now making it available as part of our preparations for the 2020 US elections.
Starting today for some people and rolling out to everyone in the US over the next few weeks, people will be able to turn off all social issue, electoral or political ads from candidates, Super PACs or other organizations that have the “Paid for by” political disclaimer on them. You can do this on Facebook or Instagram directly from any political or social issue ad or through each platform’s ad settings. However, we know our system isn’t perfect. So if you’ve selected this preference and still see an ad that you think is political, please click the upper right corner of the ad and report it to us.
We’re rolling out this option in the US to start, and we’ll aim to make it available in countries where we have enforcement on ads about social issues, elections and politics later this fall.
We’re also taking two additional steps to make political advertising more transparent. Previously, when someone shared a political or issue ad to their profile or posted it on a Page, the “Paid for by” political disclaimer did not appear on shares, creating confusion about whether the share was an ad or not. Starting today, disclaimers will stay on any political or issue ad that is shared so people can see who is behind it and who paid for it.
Lastly, we’re adding a new feature to the Ad Library, allowing you to track ad spending for US House and Senate races, in addition to spending for the candidates in the Presidential race. We’ll also offer a custom tracker to compare the spending of advertisers running political or issue ads. This will help you understand how much advertisers and candidates are spending to reach voters.