Facebook on Wednesday said it would prohibit the purchase of ads that seek to delegitimize the outcome of the election, as the social network prepares for a turbulent next few weeks.
Facebook, under its amended policy, said it would not allow paid ads on its site that try to undermine the election process, such as by declaring voter fraud. The change builds on the company’s recent moves to keep out political ads that make premature declarations of victory and to stop candidates from purchasing political ads entirely in the week before Election Day, Nov. 3.
“For example, this would include calling a method of voting inherently fraudulent or corrupt, or using isolated incidents of voter fraud to delegitimize the result of an election,” said Rob Leathern, a director of product management at Facebook, in a tweet on Wednesday.
The changes will apply to ads on both Facebook and Instagram, Mr. Leathern said, and are effective immediately.
Facebook updated its policies less than 24 hours after President Trump, in a debate Tuesday with the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., refused to agree to accept the election outcome. Mr. Trump repeatedly railed against voting and the integrity of the election, suggesting without evidence that voter fraud was rampant and telling his supporters to go to the polls and watch voters closely.
Facebook has struggled with how to police political advertising. The company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has said he supports unfettered speech on his platform while also trying to minimize the amount of harm Facebook can do to the electoral process.
That position has been tested as Mr. Trump has spread falsehoods about the voting process, something that Facebook has asserted it would prohibit on the platform. Critics have slammed Facebook for unevenly policing its election-related posts and advertising, citing the company’s unwillingness to upset conservatives and the White House.
Over the past two years, Facebook has stepped up its efforts to fight against malicious actors and foreign influence campaigns across its service. Mr. Zuckerberg has vowed not to see a repeat of the 2016 election, in which Russian operatives used Facebook to manipulate Americans and sow discord.