Safeguarding civic participation and the U.S. 2020 census

Today we’re announcing initiatives in support of civic participation, including the U.S. 2020 Census and voting. 

Pinterest brings people the inspiration to create a life they love. Most of the time here in the U.S., that means helping nearly 90 million Americans plan their futures, whether that’s planning a wedding or turning a hobby into a small business. But there are times when it’s more than that. That’s why we’re working with the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2020 Census will determine federal funding for schools, transportation, housing and other essential community assets people need to thrive–the building blocks for an inspired life. We want to do our part to make sure people on Pinterest are fully counted.

Introducing a civic participation policy 

As part of our community guidelines on misinformation and disinformation, we’re introducing a civic participation policy. This policy doesn’t allow false or misleading content on Pinterest that impedes an election’s integrity or an individual's or group's civic participation, including registering to vote, voting and being counted in a census. For instance, we’ll remove false or misleading content about who can participate in the census and what information is collected, and we’ll take down content that misleads people about where, when or how to vote. This also means that we prohibit any ads that include false or misleading content about elections and the 2020 Census.

Combating misinformation and disinformation 

We’re working with the U.S. Census Bureau to verify and remove misinformation and disinformation from Pinterest. If we find a Pin or board that violates our policy, we’ll share it with the Census Bureau so that all the other platforms they’re working with can also take action on the content. Similarly, if the Bureau provides verified misinformation or disinformation to us, we’ll look for it on our platform and take anything we find down. We're also featuring the Census Bureau at our Pinterest 100 event today in Washington, DC, so folks can put a face to the agency and learn firsthand why this year's count is so important.

Connecting people to authoritative resources 

We’re introducing a banner at the top of search results so that as people look for “2020 Census,” “#becounted” and other popular terms, they can easily access the U.S. 2020 Census website for authoritative information. The banner and list of terms was created with the Census Bureau. We expect it to evolve throughout the year as new terms become associated with or are used to spread misinformation or disinformation.

2020 Census Banner in Pinterest Search Results

Because so many teachers come to Pinterest to get inspiration for their lesson plans, classroom activities, tools and tips, the Census Bureau is bringing more content for teachers and their students onto Pinterest. For example, the Census Bureau Statistics in School’s Pinterest account is full of multilingual activities and resources to help teachers use real-life data when teaching statistics from pre-k to high school.  

Census data helps the government make decisions about our future, determine congressional representation and allocate resources to all communities across the country. As a foundation of our democracy, the census, like voting, relies on our informed participation.

Aerica Shimizu Banks, federal public policy lead, Pinterest