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1 Sep, 2020 19:28

Zuckerberg to donate $300 million to ensure Covid-safe US elections as Facebook hunts for Russian disinformation

Zuckerberg to donate $300 million to ensure Covid-safe US elections as Facebook hunts for Russian disinformation

Mark Zuckerberg has said he will donate $300 million to help ensure a “secure” election process amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while Facebook remains on the prowl for alleged “foreign interference” from Russia.

Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced on Tuesday that they will donate the hefty pile of cash to “two non-partisan organizations” – the Center for Tech and Civic Life and the Center for Election Innovation & Research. The donation will help with the highly controversial mail-in voting system and go towards ensuring safety measures at polling stations.

“There will be historic levels of voting by mail, and increased need for poll workers and equipment to support contact-free voting,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. In addition to the donations, Facebook has a goal of providing four million people with voting information, specifically information on “how to vote by mail in each state.” 

Zuckerberg said he was personally “concerned” by the challenges US election infrastructure is facing during the pandemic and that he was committed to helping “both red and blue states” make sure “electoral systems are secure and voters are informed,” so that Americans can have confidence in the “integrity and legitimacy” of the system.

It’s not just Covid-19 Facebook is attempting to save the US election from, however. Also on Tuesday, the social media giant released new statistics about its ongoing digital war on disinformation – specifically from Russia, Pakistan, and the US itself.

Also on rt.com Facebook selectively slaps ‘state-controlled media’ warning on some government-funded outlets ahead of 2020 US elections

The company said it has removed more than 100 networks worldwide for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” In August 2020, it rooted out 13 accounts and two pages linked to people “associated with past activity” by an alleged Russian disinformation network, according to the report.

Facebook has been hyperfocused on disinformation on the platform since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, following media accusations that the now-president won the election with help from Russian ‘collusion’ and ‘interference’, including through social media, prompting Democrats to come down hard on the social media giant as a hazard to US democracy.

Zuckerberg’s donation announcement doesn’t seem to have done much to combat this view, however. Many Twitter users perceived it as a distraction to hide the "damage" the company has allegedly already done.

A few commenters, however, did appear genuinely impressed by Zuckerberg’s supposed effort to secure the US election, with one saying people should “call out great things when [they] see them.”

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