To curb fake news, Facebook to verify political ads ahead of elections in India

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With the election dates revealed for the election in five states by the election commission and the Lok Sabha polls approaching next year, the behemoth of social media portals, Facebook is planning to roll out a version of the political ads transparency portal in India.

The vice president of Facebook’s Global Policy Solutions, Richard Allen has said, “(For) elections, there are general principles. Our principles are we want our platform for free and fair elections. But we don’t want people to abuse that”. He further added, ““We will have to do the same work analyzing for India what the risks are and then have a policy that tries to capture the risks”.

He said that one of the difficulties that they face is distinguishing news sources and political propaganda camouflaged as news sources and hence there has to be an analysis done to find out what the risks are and then devise policy to counter those risks. In the US it decided to broaden ad policy to all content of political and nation. While in UK, the portal will only look at advertising related to the main political parties, he added.

Regarding India he said, “The internal team will work with outside agencies. The task force will include security experts, community operations, and specialists who work with political parties. Along with the task-force in Delhi, scores of workers will help monitor advertisements and content”.

This transparency portal is currently active in USA and Brazil and will be implemented in the England in upcoming weeks.

According to reports, in 2016 US presidential elections, political ads were bought by foreigners to create an impact and influence on the election. Since May 2018, political ads on Facebook are viewable in the public advertisement archive with the inclusion of funding information. Now, the political advertisers have to go through an authorization process before their ads get displayed on the portal.

The recent data hack of 5million Facebook accounts brought the social media portal under question with an allegation that the data were compromised to influence elections. Since then the portal has been asked to properly plan the regulations which should be maintained by the European Union, USA, India, and other countries to ensure no such thing happens again.


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