As the Indian general elections loom on the horizon, scrutiny of social media platforms such as Facebook has intensified. The BJP and Congress have both been accused of playing a partin a widespread misinformation campaign on social media platforms. Facebook is now looking to prevent the abuse of its platform during election time.
A statement released by Ajit Mohan, Managing Director & Vice President of Facebook, said that the company will work towards making Facebook and its family of apps fair and free from interference, both foreign and domestic.
He also revealed that Facebook is removing around one million abusive accounts every day using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Mohan said efforts to regulate misinformation during Indian elections began more than 18 months ago with detailed planning and risk assessment across Facebook and its platforms. Key focus areas include “blocking and removing fake accounts, fighting the spread of misinformation, stopping abuse by domestic actors, spotting attempts at foreign meddling, and taking action against inauthentic coordinated campaigns.”
Facebook has also launched a new political ad transparency tool, which is said to give people a clearer idea of who posted the ads users see on their news feed. Facebook also runs any political ad with a “Paid for by” or “Published by” disclaimer and houses it in a searchable Ad Library for seven years. This Ad Library is a repository for ads where one finds out how much money was spent as well as demographics of those who saw it.
The social media giant also claims that it’s “gotten better at using artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight interference”. The company blocks or removes approximately one million accounts a day using AI.
Facebook has also expanded its partnerships to third-party fact checkers which cover a wide variety of Indian languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Gujarati. These fact-checkers also provide correct facts below a story that has been deemed to be false in the news feed.
Recently Facebook also joined in a voluntary code of ethics for the general elections with the Election Commission of India (ECI). Facebook has also launched two new products in India “Candidate Connect” and “Share You Voted”. The former is designed to give voters accurate information about the candidates in this year’s election and the latter lets people share with friends that they’ve cast their ballot in the elections.