Facebook to temporarily stop recommending new groups ahead of election

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2017.KENZO TRIBOUILLARDFacebook on Friday announced that it will stop recommending new groups to users as a temporary measure ahead of the U.S. election.The pause comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said he was worried about the elevated risk of civil unrest in the U.S. in relation to the election.”I’m worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or weeks to be finalized, there is a risk of civil unrest across the country,” Zuckerberg said on a call discussing¬†Facebook’s third-quarter earnings. “Given this, companies like ours need to go well beyond what we’ve done before.”The company on Friday also announced that it would limit the distribution of the “save our children” hashtag dues to its connections with the conspiracy theory group QAnon, which Facebook banned earlier this month. “When people search for it, they will now see the credible child safety resources,” a company spokesman said in a statement. Facebook groups are known to be used to spread conspiracy theories and misinformation. The decision to filter new groups from recommendations is a tactic that can slow the spread of misinformation in the final days of the U.S. election.Zuckerberg also announced on Wednesday during a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee that the company will temporarily halt the recommendation of civic groups.Additionally, Facebook-owned Instagram on Thursday announced that it will temporarily disable the “Recent” tab from hashtag pages in an effort to reduce the spread of misinformation. The recent tab is a feature that shows users the latest content labeled with specific hashtags, regardless of whether it’s relevant to the topic.The company has not said when these features will be turned back on.

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