Since the last presidential elections in the United States, concerns about how political opponents can use Facebook to influence people’s votes have increased. For this reason, Facebook has recently taken different measures to prevent malicious use of its platform. In this way, the company tries to prevent the spread of fake news that could influence the voting intentions of the population.
With this in mind, Facebook announced the measures it has taken to protect the authenticity and security in the conversations that take place on the social network. Through a press release, the company located in Menlo Park announced that in the last year, they have invested in expanding the equipment, launching new products, and updating policies to prevent possible service abuse.
On Friday, October 18, 2019, Facebook announced the start-up of two operations centers in the United States and Argentina to respond in real-time to any issue related to voting on the platforms. These operations centers are part of the company’s work to protect the electoral conversation both in the social network and in its family of applications.
These are the measures that Facebook has taken in the last year. The objective of these actions is to ensure that the Argentine community has an authentic and safe space where they can express themselves and interact with others:
Operations Center for Elections
This unit will work in the offices of Menlo Park, United States, and will work in an integrated manner with the team in Buenos Aires for the October 27 vote. In both operations, multidisciplinary teams will use a combination of artificial intelligence and human review to respond to possible incidents that may be recorded on their platforms.
Transparency in political advertising
Facebook launched a transparency tool for election notices that allows people to know who is behind the political ads they see on Facebook and Instagram. From the beginning of the campaign in Argentina in September, the company demands that the political advertisers register. Users of the platform can obtain detailed information on who paid the ads, what was the approximate investment and what was the audience reached.
Fight against misinformation
As part of the preparations for the elections, Facebook expanded its information verification program, in which the Checked digital media was already working. The international agency AFP was added to this project. The company also supported Reverso with technology and resources, the first journalistic consortium created to combat misinformation in the 2019 Argentine elections, which brings together more than 100 local media.
Along the same lines, WhatsApp launched the “Share facts, not rumors” advertising campaign, inviting people to analyze the information they consume and share critically.
Working with the electoral authority
The Menlo Park company created an exclusive channel with the National Electoral Chamber (CNE) to expeditiously deal with applications linked to the elections, in addition to signing a cooperation agreement with the electoral authority to promote civic participation.
Facebook also signed a Digital Ethical Commitment promoted by the CNE and signed by political organizations and civil society, along with companies in the technology industry, to encourage an honest democratic conversation and mitigate the effects of misinformation.
Removal of impostor accounts
Facebook deleted social network profiles, in addition to Instagram. These accounts evidenced inauthentic behavior, seeking to confuse users. Facebook stressed that authenticity is one of the pillars of their community, and their policies do not allow the creation of profiles that hide their real identity, using images of other people.
Training for journalists and campaign teams
Facebook organized workshops on best practices for the use of its products in the Argentine cities of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Corrientes, Mendoza, and Salta.
Civic participation tools
The company presented a series of tools, such as a contribution to the electoral conversation, which includes a voting day reminder and an informed voting button, which allows people to access more information about the electoral process in Argentina and useful details for attending the polls.
Combat inauthentic coordinated behavior.
Facebook formed teams that investigate the existence of profiles and Pages that could act in coordination on the company’s platforms, hiding their true identity and their true intentions. Once identified, teams eliminate them for violating authenticity policies based on their behavior and not the content they share.
The company said it would continue working to protect the community and, at the same time, foster an open and transparent civic exchange.