New Delhi: Facing the uphill task of tackling election-related interference on its platform as India gets ready for polls next year, Facebook on Saturday said it is establishing a task force comprising “hundreds of people” in the country to prevent bad actors from abusing its platform. “With the 2019 elections coming, we are pulling together a group of specialists to work together with political parties,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Policy Solutions, told the media here.
Facebook has also set a goal of bringing a transparency feature for political ads – now available in the US and Brazil – to India by March next year, Allan informed, reports IANS. With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad.
In May this year, Facebook announced that all election-related ads on Facebook and Instagram in the US must be clearly labelled – including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the ad. When users click on the label, they would be taken to an archive with more information such as the campaign budget associated with an individual ad and how many people saw it – including their age, location and gender, Facebook had said.
The social media giant later introduced the transparency feature in Brazil. The introduction of the same feature in India would help users identify political propaganda easily. “The task force for India will have security specialists and content specialists, among others, who will try to understand all the possible forms of election-related abuse in India,” added Allan during a workshop on Facebook’s “community standards” in the capital.
Allan explained that while the disinformation linked to real-world violence is checked by the team mandated to maintain Facebook’s community standards, other forms of disinformation are handled by a different team of fact checkers.”The challenge for the task force in India would be to distinguish between real political news and political propaganda,” Allan noted.
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