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Facebook reportedly prepping in case Trump tries to delegitimize election – CNET


President Trump is already casting doubt on whether the election will be “rigged.”

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This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

President Donald Trump has ramped up his criticism of the 2020 election over the past couple weeks, saying the only way he’ll lose is if the vote is “rigged.” He’s also said that voting by mail is unreliable, even as states prepare for expanded mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic. In response, FacebookTwitter and Google’s YouTube are drawing up plans to handle efforts to the president might make to undermine confidence in the results, according to a Friday report in The New York Times. 

Facebook has begun working on contingency plans in case Trump uses the social network to question the election’s legitimacy, according to The Times, which cited people with knowledge of the plans but who asked to remain unnamed. The social network is also considering how it would respond should if Trump uses it to suggest the post office lost ballots or that “other groups” have interfered with the election.

Facebook, Twitter and Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The White House also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google and Twitter confirmed to The Times that they are preparing for election day issues, but didn’t elaborate on plans they are considering. The White House told the paper that Trump is working to ensure election security and integrity.

The reported moves come amid rising tensions between the White House and its critics. Since his win in 2016, Trump has questioned the legitimacy of election results, alleging without evidence that millions of fraudulent votes were cast for his opponent. Now, with the election a little more than two months away, Trump is attacking mail-in votes, again without evidence, despite using a mail-in ballot himself.

Trump’s critics, including his predecessor President Barack Obama, say the president is attempting to sow discord and confusion ahead of the election. “This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Obama said in a speech on Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention. “They’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.”

Trump has argued, without evidence, that his opponents are attempting to sabotage the election.

The preparations by Facebook, Twitter and Google come as the three companies increasingly take action against misinformation on their respective platforms. Each now attaches to voting-related posts a link to information centers that they’ve established. Twitter and Facebook have also increasingly flagged some of Trump’s more inflammatory rhetoric. Trump has responded that social media companies need to be more stringently regulated to fight back against what he believes is censorship.

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