Facebook has in recent months been busy thwarting attempts by external adversaries to interfere in the US election. According to AFP, the social media giant has so far rejected over 2.2 million political ads that didn’t pass its verification process. Facebook believes that the ads were designed to influence public opinion in the US and were largely driven by external actors.
Additionally, the social media company has also noted that it has removed over 120,000 misleading posts for attempting to obstruct voting in the US. Facebook’s vice president of global affairs Nick Glegg also noted that the company has invested heavily in artificial intelligence technology that has made it possible for the social media service to remove billions of posts and fake accounts. Clegg also notes that the AI systems have made it easier for the company to identify fake posts and accounts even before they are reported by users.
Facebook is partnering with several media outlets in its effort to verify information on its platform. These latest moves are designed to prevent the spread of misinformation on social media, especially now that we are heading to the 2020 election. Facebook rolled out its fact-checking program in the aftermath of the 2016 election. The social media company was accused of doing very little to stop the spread of fake news.
Facebook would also find itself in a major privacy breach scandal involving a company called Cambridge Analytica. It was reported at the time that the UK company was able to access personal data from tens of millions of Facebook users. The data was then used to shape public opinion and interfere with the US election in favor of current president Donald Trump.
However, Facebook has stepped up, removing several Kremlin-linked accounts. The social media company has also removed accounts linked to misinformation and conspiracy theories as well. Additionally, Facebook is preparing for the aftermath of the November 3 poll. With millions of Americans voting via mail, it will be very hard to know the winner on election night. There’s the potential of an ensuing chaos if any of the candidates declares victory before the final count.
Facebook is ready to stop this noting that it will ban any ads declaring victory before official results are released. The social media company will also ban any forms of political ads a week before the election. Other social media platforms like Twitter have also stepped up their efforts to prevent misinformation, especially around mail-in voting and the coronavirus.
Twitter, in fact, made headlines a few months back after it started fact-checking Trump’s tweet, something that drew a barrage of criticism from conservative media and the president himself. But it seems these large tech companies aren’t backing down. Facebook notes that it will continue to carefully monitor its platforms to ensure any election interference is stopped on its tracks. The US is heading to the polls in less than 14 days in what experts call the most consequential election in US history.