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Social Media to go dark during the 2020 election week


Hamna Humail

26th Oct, 2020. 03:52 pm
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It is recommended by the American government that social media giants go silent for a few days prior to and after the elections so as to not sow seeds of political unrest. Not only is the possibility of a stolen election real, democracy itself is vulnerable to a potential heist.

In order to reduce the odds of enabling harm, it is advised for social platforms such as, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take a few days off.

A couple of days of silence on social media may prevent online attempts at election interference and would hinder President Trump’s effort to form a defensive narrative.

Both, Democrats and Republicans support the idea. There are similar examples in history that the world follows. By law, French observe a period of no electoral coverage 44 hours prior to an election. In the United Kingdom, TV and radio stations are not allowed to cover the elections when the polls are open – between 7 am till 10 pm on the day of the election.

Several countries observe a blackout period which lasts about 10 days before an election. In this, opinion polls are prohibited to be released publicly.

Social media could prevent all communication by third parties on their platforms while they report on attempts at election interference alongside. Such information can be collected through mainstream press or a hotline allowing users to report election problems to the social media firms. Facebook staff can verify attempts at voter intimidation in a certain vicinity, then alert users in that area.

Although a social media outage would affect the world, the globe has a significant interest in ensuring a fair US election. Not only would social media silence improve the odds of an impartial election, it would be in the platforms’ self-interest. Shutting down completely for a few days is the only way they can practically maintain their claims of neutrality.

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