Facebook Inc, inter alia, made an announcement in San Francisco that it would amend a few of its advertising rules related to political issues with a view to controlling election intervention in countries that include India, Nigeria, Ukraine, as also the EU prior to election and voting scheduled to take place soon.
The social media giant, on account of it powerful presence felt in most world countries since 2016 has become a hot bed for posting fake news and similar sundry propaganda by politicians and their rival groups. The worst part of the whole story revolves round the fact that Facebook ads, especially those with malevolent content are often bought at their face value, disregarding election rules of the countries on one hand, while jeopardizing Facebook’s policies on the other.
According to Katie Harbath, Facebook’s director of global politics and outreach, the operation will start with Nigeria where advertisers located only in the country will be allowed to post electoral ads, a principle mimicking operations practiced in the Irish referendum during May last year. Similar policy will be adopted for Ukraine later. Presidential election in Nigeria, incidentally will be held in Feb 16; the same being held in Ukraine on March 31.
For voting in India which is scheduled to be held during May-June this year, Facebook has decided to post electoral ads in a searchable online library, says Rob Leathern, director of company product management. Facebook believes in the theory, added Leathern, that holding ads in a library for 7 years greatly affects interference. Mr. Leathern further admitted that they are learning from every country, despite the fact that they are far from becoming perfect, but their goal is to continue till perfection is reached. The library, he believed will be similar to archives brought to the United States, Britain and Brazil (last year).
While the Indian archive will include contact information for some ad buyers or their official regulatory certificates, the EU would get a version of that authorization and transparency system ahead of the bloc’s parliamentary elections in May, said Leathern.