Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Facebook pledges to support integrity of general election

Jan 22. 2019
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By ASINA PORNWASIN
THE NATION

4,762 Viewed

FACEBOOK has promised to help ensure the integrity of the Thai election by providing supporting tools and related efforts.

This is part of the social-media giant’s recent decision to help protect and preserve the integrity of elections across the world by blocking disruptive messages spread through the platform. Facebook has previously been used to disrupt polls and referendums in several countries. 

Katie Harbath, director of Facebook’s global politics and government division, said the social platform has put in place five measures to protect election integrity, namely, cracking down on fake accounts, reducing the distribution of false news, making advertisement more transparent, disrupting bad actors and supporting an informed electorate. The social-media platform has doubled the number of people working on safety and security issues to 30,000. 

Facebook currently has some 52 million active users in Thailand and it is expected to be one of the most influential social-media platforms in the upcoming national election. 

Facebook will dedicate teams to work on all upcoming elections to help detect and prevent malicious posts being shared via the site, including those in Thai and other languages. 

Blocking ‘inauthentic’ behaviour

“We are absolutely committed to preventing all kinds of inauthentic behaviour on our platform, be it misinformation, misrepresentation, phishing, bullying, violence, harassment, or interfering with elections,” Harbath said. “Combating false news is crucial to the integrity and safety of Thailand’s election, but we cannot do this alone. We believe it requires a concerted effort across the industry, civil society and the government.” 

Facebook will use both automatic and human processes to identify fake accounts, with its security systems running in the background at millions of times per second. It is also using artificial intelligence and has so far managed to identify and remove over 99.6 per cent of fake accounts In the second and third quarters of 2018 alone, around 1.5 billion fake accounts have been removed from Facebook.

The social-media giant says it is committed to tackling false news, takes action against those who repeatedly violate its policies, is reducing the spread of problematic content and informs the community through additional content.

“We are exploring how to promote awareness and share our ‘Tips to Spot False News’ in partnership with local organisations to consumers through a public service announcement both on and off the platform,” Harbath added. “We will host a training session for our Thai news partners and leading media organisations to share best practices for newsrooms, including elections coverage, case studies and highlights.” 

To make advertising more transparent, she said anyone can now view active Facebook Page ads across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and its partner network. People can also learn more about the pages, even if they are not advertised. For instance, they can see any recent name change or date the page was created. 

Facebook aims to disrupt bad actors through detection, taking action and adapting. Harmful types of election-related activity are flagged up for manual review. Security teams investigate suspicious activity and take down violating accounts. 

The platform has also been supporting an informed electorate through the election journey including registering to vote, making a voting plan, voting and getting friends to do the same and connecting with new representatives. 

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