Having faced a lot of heat for allegedly interfering with the last US elections, Facebook has announced a slew of steps to curb misinformation and voter suppression in view of the upcoming, 2020 presidential elections.
Interestingly, the announcement co-incited with the removal of a slew of Russian accounts that were targeting U.S. voters on Instagram. Now why would they do that? To influence US voters of course, which is something that Facebook hopes to curb before the 2020 presidential elections roll around.
Anyways, some of the measures that the social networking platform is implementing include showing more information about the confirmed owner of a Facebook page. What’s more, you can also expect more prominent labeling of all the content that has been marked as false by independent fact-checkers. This move will also cut into Facebook’s policy of exempting ads run by politicians from fact-checking – A move which had drawn a lot of ire from the democrats. The ban on voter misinformation will now also cover ads by politicians.
The company also said that it will put a blanket ban on advertisements that tell US citizens not to vote at all. What’s more, state-controlled media will now labelled as such on their pages. By next year, you can also expect individual, specific posts on Facebook and Instagram to carry labels if by state-owned media platforms.
Speaking on the topic, Zuckerberg said:
The bottom line here is that elections have changed significantly since 2016 and Facebook has changed too.
We face increasingly sophisticated attacks from nation states like Russia, Iran and China, but I’m confident we’re more prepared.
Finally, in a move that will hopefully increase transparency and accountability, Facebook is also introducing spend trackers that will show the amounts spent by presidential candidates on their political advertisements.
While all these changes are welcome, it remains to be seen whether they will be as effective as the company hopes. There are plenty of ways state agents could still run ads in favor of one political candidate or the other, however, the current slew of moves by Facebook are definitely a good start.