Facebook launches voter information centre amid concern over Donald Trump posts

Mark Zuckerberg continues to face criticism for not removing or labeling posts by Mr Trump that that spread misinformation about voting by m Credit: PA/AP

Facebook is launching a widespread effort to boost US voter turnout and provide authoritative information about voting ahead of this year's presidential election.

It comes as the social media giant continues to struggle to respond to criticism about its reaction to false information on the site, including accusations against Donald Trump's posts on the same subject.

The company is launching a Voting Information Centre on Facebook and Instagram that will include details on registering to vote, polling places and voting by post.

The Covid-19 information centre will launch on Facebook and Instagram. Credit: Facebook/Screenshot/PA

The tool will draw the information from state election officials and local authorities.

The information hub - which will be start appearing on user's Facebook newsfeeds from Wednesday - is similar to the coronavirus information centre the company launched earlier this year in an attempt to elevate facts and authoritative sources of information on Covid-19.

The tool will launch on Instagram later in the summer.

In addition to the voting hub, Facebook will also let people turn off political and social issue ads that display the "paid for by" designation - meaning a politician or political entity paid for it.

The company announced this option in January but it is going into effect now.

Sarah Schiff, product manager who works on ads, cautioned that Facebook’s systems "aren’t perfect" and encouraged users to report "paid for by" ads they see if they have chosen not to see them.

Facebook's CEO has repeatedly faced questions from US officials and politicians about his company. Credit: AP

Facebook and its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg continue to face criticism for not removing or labelling posts by Mr Trump that spread misinformation about voting by mail.

Critics have also said the president's posts have encouraged violence against protesters during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Earlier this month, Mr Zuckerbeg wrote: "I know many people are upset that we’ve left the president’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies."

In a USA Today opinion piece on Tuesday, Mr Zuckerberg reaffirmed that position.

"Ultimately, I believe the best way to hold politicians accountable is through voting, and I believe we should trust voters to make judgments for themselves," he wrote.

"That’s why I think we should maintain as open a platform as possible, accompanied by ambitious efforts to boost voter participation."

Critics say Facebook’s 'free speech stance' may have more to do with not wanting to alienate Mr Trump and his supporters - while keeping its business options open.

Dipayan Ghosh, co-director of the Platform Accountability Project at Harvard Kennedy School, said Facebook "doesn’t want to tick off a whole swath of people who really believe the president".