Pinterest Is Handling the Presidential Election in Its Own Way



With the presidential election fast approaching, Pinterest appears keen to take a step back from the growing hullabaloo in a bid to ensure that its platform “remains a place for inspiration and positivity.”

The social media service has already had a ban in place on political ads for the last two years, but this week it announced further measures designed to limit some types of political content as November 3 approaches.

In a message posted on its site on Thursday, September 3, the company said it is strengthening its commitment to provide verified election-related content, while at the same time limiting recommendations linked to content such as political memes and slogans. Pinterest said it will also turn off search autocomplete and search guides for specific election-related terms.

Going forward, it will also push legitimate resources to the fore, so when people search for topics like “how to vote” or the names of the presidential candidates, it’ll “show a banner that leads to Vote.org, a non-partisan resource where you can register to vote, check registration status, get an absentee ballot, and more.”

More voting resources will also be added to Pinterest’s Today tab, a source of daily inspiration featuring curated topics and trending ideas.

In its message, the company said it will not be monetizing election-related content, so it won’t show ads if someone searches for common election-focused terms such as “polling place” and “vote,” as well as the names of the presidential or vice-presidential candidates.

Acknowledging that battling misinformation on a busy online platform is a highly complex task, Pinterest said it’s been seeking assistance from experts and organizations, among them network analysis firm Graphika.

According to data site Statista, Pinterest had 416 million monthly active users globally during the second quarter of this year (up from 300 million a year earlier), with 96 million of them based in the U.S.

Pinterest’s announcement comes as other social media companies put measures in place for what is already a highly contentious election, with all of them continuing to grapple with misinformation and other dubious content landing on their platforms.

Facebook, for example, this week announced it will stop accepting new political advertising in the week leading up to the presidential election as part of efforts to curb misinformation on its site during such a crucial period. In a blog post, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said it took the decision as there wouldn’t be enough time to contest new claims in the final days of an election. It also introduced a new forwarding limit on its Messenger service in a bid to stop the spread of misinformation.

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