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Facebook moves to uphold election integrity, check fake news, others

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AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

Famous social medium, Facebook, is floating new operational centres and programmes globally to protect election integrity and check fake news and voter suppression.

The move is an improvement to the strategy it adopted during the 2018 U.S. mid-term polls to guard against interference with the entire process.

Nigeria, South Africa, India, Ukraine, Israel and a few other countries are going to the polls this year. In fact, the most populous black nation is holding her presidential contest on the 16th of next month.

In a blog post yesterday, Facebook, which has 26 million active users in Nigeria, said it would be expanding initiatives to verify political advertisers, coordinate teams and fact-check news around the world.

The platform currently employs 30,000 people to work on “safety and security,” three times more than its 2017 figure when it bumped into an extensive campaign by Russia to manipulate U.S. voters.

Facebook’s strategies have come under stern criticism, given how egregiously the platform was abused ahead of the U.S. presidential elections.

Its new fact-checking mechanism, which relies on third party groups like Snopes and the Associated Press to authenticate stories, only scratched the surface of manipulative contents.

Now, it is available in 16 languages and focuses more on photos and videos, the company said.

A major benefit of the new systems is transparency. By this, people could see the ownership histories of pages and expenditure of political groups.

The company, however, admitted that it knew the processes needed tweaking, just as its adversaries allegedly kept coming up with innovations on election manipulations.

“We will never stop all the bad actors. But we are making real progress, and we are committed to continuous improvement,” Facebook said in the post.

Owned by Mark Zuckerberg, the interactive forum noted that despite efforts being made, elections were still being influenced. It cited the deployment of misinformation as a political weapon amid genocide in Myanmar, adding that WhatsApp fuelled numerous cases of violence in India on account of fake news.


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