Facebook labels Trump, Biden posts on voting

The Facebook label below says “Get official voting info on how to vote” and links to the federal government’s official website about absentee voting, including voting by mail.

Facebook said last month that it would start to label all posts — from any user — about voting with a prompt to check out its own voting information page. But while Facebook creates that page, it is adding labels to posts from federal candidates and elected officials that point to the official government site, the company’s vice president of integrity said last week.

The voting information labels are separate from the “newsworthiness” labels Facebook said it would add to politician’s posts that violate the company’s policies but that Facebook determines are newsworthy enough to leave online.

Facebook reached that decision only following harsh criticism from civil rights advocates and others after the company refused to label or remove several of Trump’s posts that some said incited violence or fueled hate. Twitter started adding labels to Trump’s tweets in May, strengthening calls for Facebook to do the same.

Facebook eventually said it will remove posts that incite violence or suppress voting, even from public figures. In other policy-violating instances, the company said it might leave the posts from politicians online but with labels.

Facebook also added voting information labels to a few of Trump’s posts from Sunday and Monday, including one that included a campaign video ad and a repost of an announcement from his campaign’s page.

Biden’s post asking for campaign donations got the label Tuesday, this time pointing to the government’s official voting home page.

Biden spokesman Bill Russo retweeted a tweet about the label on Trump’s mail-in post, writing “What an absolute, abject failure.” He mocked the company’s decision in another tweet, suggesting that Trump and Biden’s posts were too different to receive the same label.

Roger McNamee, author of “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe,” called Facebook’s labeling of Trump’s post “irresponsible.”

“Rather than call out the falsehood, the label is worded so that some will read it as an endorsement of a false statement,” he tweeted.

Trump’s campaign defended his post.

“The President was absolutely correct,” Trump campaign spokesperson Samantha Zager said. “Universal vote by mail is ripe for fraud and would lead to a corrupt election. The same label has been applied to posts on Joe Biden’s page.”

But Twitter determined that Trump’s tweet today about mail-in voter fraud, which was identical to the post Facebook labeled, didn’t break its rules, according to spokesman Trenton Kennedy. The decision reflects how Twitter won’t take action against “broad, non-specific statements” that could mislead people about elections.

Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.