How Facebook is taking significant steps to protect the US Presidential Election of 2020
Mark Zuckerberg’s company no longer wants to be accused of being manipulated during an election. Facebook announced numerous measures to prevent the spread of false electoral information in 2020.
Facebook on Thursday presented investors with its plan to “protect the democratic process” of the 2020 US elections, including a series of initiatives already unveiled in October after foiling a new Russian attempt to manipulate public opinion.
Facebook admits that the US presidential election of 2016 was a real fiasco and now plans to fight against misinformation and threats of foreign interference, including better protection of the accounts of candidates and elected politicians.
Transparency needs to be strengthened by clearly indicating who controls the political pages or the state media pages. Articles or videos classified as “false news” by independent journalists will also be better reported.
Facebook is stepping up efforts to regain the trust of the public and authorities since the spring of 2018 when the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted.
The British firm has recovered the data of 87 million Facebook users from carrying out political manipulation campaigns, especially in the United States during the 2016 presidential election.
Groups linked to Russia and the Russian government have been called into question, and Facebook around the world has since foiled several similar operations.
The social network no longer wants to be the tool of foreign interference during the next US presidential election. Accused of being manipulated by Russia in particular in 2016, Facebook has detailed all initiatives to avoid the same scenario.
Profiles of Protected Candidates
First, the social network now detects ” inauthentic behaviors ” allowing it to identify, for example, pages or groups led by foreign countries. Thus, the company announces taking down four networks of accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Three of them were from Iran and one from Russia; they targeted the United States, North Africa, and Latin America.
Now, the social network has set up Facebook Protect, a system for protecting the accounts of elected candidates and their team members. These people are indeed prime targets for their opponents, and their profiles can be hacked to retrieve confidential information or disseminate false information.
Public media or state media?
Facebook pages will now show which organization is behind their management. This will prevent users from thinking that a page is independent when it is driven by a structure that highlights its interests. This information is in addition to the information already available concerning the name changes of the page or the country in which its managers are located.
The social network also wants to inform its users that some media can be managed directly by states. To resolve this delicate issue, Facebook has set up a committee of 40 experts from organizations specializing in the analysis of the media and journalism. Their goal will be to decide between state media and public media, funded by a state, or an editorial independent of the government.
The hunt for false information will intensify. On Facebook and Instagram, some shared content will be clearly stamped to highlight their inaccuracy. If the user still wants to share it, others will be warned that this information verified by Facebook partners is considered false.
Educate users to misinformation
Facebook will also act on messages discouraging voters from voting or giving them false information about how to vote; For example, displaying information about it being possible to vote by SMS or giving incorrect opening hours of polling stations.
Finally, the social network wants to help its users to detect misinformation themselves. Two million dollars will be invested in media literacy programs for both students and seniors.
Facebook seems to be taking seriously the threats that hang over their social networks regarding the next US presidential election. For the moment, these initiatives only concern the United States, and they may be rolled out in other countries for future elections.