April 11, 2018
With the world now closely watching, Facebook is feeling the pressure as it prepares for this year’s US midterm elections. The stakes are high as the most popular social platform continues to recover from the negative press it’s been receiving after it was discovered that Russian trolls misused it to deliver divisive political messages during the 2016 US Presidential Election.
According to CNet, part of Facebook’s plan for the upcoming US midterm elections includes fact-checking photos and videos in addition to links. Facebook has never done this before, but hopes it will make a difference in the crackdown on fake news.
In a Facebook blog post, Guy Rosen, vice president of product management, said, “Now, none of us can turn back the clock, but we are all responsible for making sure the same kind of attack our democracy [sic] does not happen again. And we are taking our role in that effort very, very seriously.”
To guide its efforts in preventing misconduct during elections, Facebook says there are four main security areas the company is focusing on: combating foreign interference, removing fake accounts, increasing ad transparency, and reducing the spread of fake news.
Facebook’s efforts will reportedly extend to elections outside of the US as well. The company intends to zero in on security issues at the local level to prevent misuse before it can grow at a national level.
CNet says Facebook has partnered with Agence France-Presse, a news provider, to get the fact-checking process up and going in France. The process will, however, be expanding to other countries in the near future.
Fighting fake news and misuse of its platform is more important than ever for Facebook. Just when the Russian interference was getting to be old news, the Cambridge Analytica scandal took center stage. The analytics firm was recently discovered to have manipulated campaign messages during Trump’s presidential campaign using personal information deceitfully harvested from over 50 million users. As a result, Facebook’s credibility has taken a major hit.
Perhaps a new day is dawning, however, as the company continues to demonstrate its intent to protect the security of its platform and those who use it.