Following the Cambridge Analytica blunder, and multiple other breaches and privacy issues, Facebook is now taking a more cautious approach to ensure nothing of that sort happens again. And what could be better than Indian Elections — the biggest democratic exercise globally — to test that approach.
As a result, the company said on Thursday, that every political ad that gets posted on its network, will go through certain levels of scrutiny before it becomes live across the network. As a result, Indian advertisers wanting to run political ads on Facebook will have to confirm their identity and location to help prevent abuse of the system in the build-up to national elections.
While crucial state elections for various legislative assemblies are already under way, India will witness country-wide, Lok-Sabha elections in May next year. Globally, this is the biggest democratic exercise, wherein over a billion people cast their votes at the same time.
Considering India’s aggressively increasing internet penetration — and more so in social media — political parties have increasingly turned to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to woo voters and educate them about their manifestos and reform agendas. At the same time however, multiple incidents of false information (or fake news) have surfaced, with a few of them resulting in communal violence. That spread of misinformation needs to be checked, and hence Facebook’s extra cautious approach.
By authorizing advertisers and bringing more transparency to ads, we can better defend against foreign interference in India’s elections.Facebook said on its website
Last month, the company announced a similar process for advertisers seeking to run political ads in the United Kingdom.
Facebook is already facing investigations and lawsuit for the platforms involvement in influencing voting for both Brexit, as well as US elections.