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WhatsApp officials have denied that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg personally killed a plan devised by company employees to provide information to users in Spanish about registering to vote or as a polling agent while still standing. claiming to have provided the same information to English-speaking users.

The surprising accusation, made in The Washington Post based on documents shared with a media consortium, is the latest look at how Facebook reportedly chose to engage users in the days leading up to the November 2020 U.S. election, which broke the record for most votes cast for a single candidate (now- President Joe Biden).

The To post and other news outlets cited internal Facebook documents to claim that Mr Zuckerberg personally rejected a plan to provide links to the voter registration service and opportunities to serve as polling agents via polls. Spanish speaking chatbots or integrated links on the WhatsApp platform.

The reasoning reported by Zuckerberg for the decision was a desire to appear “politically neutral,” according to the documents. WhatsApp officials have denied that the idea of ​​creating a “voting information center” in Spanish was ever proposed by teams or individuals within the company.

Facebook boasted in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election of how information the company provided in a notification to US users “helped” states fill “their own polling gaps.”

“Over 1.7 million people clicked on the notification at the top of the Facebook app to register with their public authority. We estimate this has helped around 100,000 people sign up as survey agents, based on the conversion rates we calculated from a few states we’ve partnered with, ”Naomi Gleit wrote. , Facebook’s vice president of products and social impact, in a blog post posted by Facebook just weeks before the November election.

The company has already responded to an email request from The independent late Monday night, calling the story “false” and claiming the company provided voter registration information to some Spanish-speaking users ahead of the 2020 election. The independent asked for clarification as to whether the information on election officials was provided in Spanish; this request was not answered in follow-up emails from WhatsApp managers.

“WhatsApp has not offered to broadcast information to all users, which is not the way WhatsApp works. WhatsApp has launched a campaign in Spanish and English in collaboration with partners from Vote.org and IFCN to encourage voter registration and raise awareness of disinformation, ”said Christian LoNigro, a spokesperson for WhatsApp.

WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014, is widely used by Spanish-speaking communities in the United States and throughout South and Central America. A 2019 eMarketer.com analysis estimated that at least half of the Hispanic American population uses the app at least once a month.

Its parent company faces a whirlwind of criticism stemming from documents leaked to news outlets by Frances Haugen, a former data scientist at the company, who said the company is seeking profits through a system that rewards users for release. hateful and conflicting content. , as well as misinformation. The company strongly objected to his claims and insisted that it do everything possible to eliminate bad actors from its platforms.

Reports in recent days have also drawn criticism and claimed that the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol was largely planned in previous weeks on Facebook, a charge the company has also resisted. .


The Independent Gt

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