Facebook has banned two accounts linked to Vancouver’s civic election, declaring the accounts were violating its policies and that the company has placed priority on preventing election interference.
Facebook also banned account in name Vancouverites for Affordable Housing, which was promoting mayoral candidate Hector Bremner. And several Facebook pages got banned, which were actively promoting Non-Partisan Association’s candidate.
The campaign strategist for NPA Mike Witherly says: “This is honestly just the nastiest election cycle ever.” The party complained about the Facebook pages that were shut down.
Spokespam for Facebook, who did not want to be named said that the account Vancouverites for Affordable Housing was removed for not complying with the company’s authenticity policy. This policy among other things requires users of Facebook to not create an account under an assumed name or fake account.
The account which was attacking Mr.Sim was removed according to Facebook for violating spam policy.
Even though Facebook removed several of these accounts and pages, there is also a lot of Twitter and FB accounts which are actively publishing derogatory and potentially defamatory information about all candidates in the B.C. civic elections.
Several campaigners say that these negative social-media campaigns caused by people who can’t influence elections that much anymore, because the fundraising is restricted nowadays, so they spend their time and money this way.
“We have seen some of this before. But what’s made the difference this year are the new regulations,” said Norman Stowe, who has been involved in several elections.”This time around is more money available for this kind of stuff,” because people are now limited to 1,200$ in individual donations as part of the provincial campaign finance rules for civic elections.