- Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are donating $US300 million toward infrastructure to carry out the 2020 US presidential election.
- Of that, $US250 million will go toward the nonprofit Centre for Tech and Civic Life to fund staffing, training, and equipment in local jurisdictions.
- The remaining $US50 million is going to the nonprofit Centre for Election Innovation and Research to help secure voting.
- The donations come with Zuckerberg under constant scrutiny over the spread of political misinformation on Facebook and over the company’s policies regarding fact-checking.
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Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, on Tuesday revealed plans to donate $US300 million to try to help people vote in the 2020 presidential election.
The news was unveiled by the two nonprofits benefiting from the donation: the Centre for Tech and Civic Life and the Centre for Election Innovation and Research.
The Centre for Tech and Civic Life will receive $US250 million, which it says it will distribute to local election jurisdictions for staffing, training, and equipment.
The Centre for Election Innovation and Research will receive the remaining $US50 million, which will be spent on helping local jurisdictions secure their voting data.
“Due to the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 will have on voting across the country, election officials are working around the clock to make sure that every voter has the ability to participate safely and have their vote counted,” Zuckerberg and Chan said in a joint statement.
“Many counties and states are strapped financially and working to determine how to staff and fund operations that will allow for ballots to be cast and counted in a timely way,” the couple added. “These donations will help to provide local and state officials across the country with the resources, training and infrastructure necessary to ensure that every voter who intends to cast a ballot is able to, and ultimately, to preserve the integrity of our elections.”
The donations come with Zuckerberg under constant scrutiny over the spread of political misinformation on Facebook and over the company’s policies regarding fact-checking.
Amid those concerns, Facebook launched a tool in August aimed at promoting accurate voting information, and according to an August 24 New York Times report Zuckerberg has met with Facebook deputies to discuss the possibility of implementing a “kill switch” to shut down political advertising after Election Day to head off any misinformation about the results.
The company faced fierce criticism in May after President Donald Trump published false claims on Twitter and Facebook about mail-in voting. Twitter added a fact-check to the post, whereas Facebook chose to leave it untouched. In July, the company started adding labels to all posts about voting from officials and political candidates, including the president.
Election integrity has been a sore point for Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica scandal and revelations of Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election.
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