Facebook’s problems with election fraud have come to a head. And now, the company is promising a new plan for 2019.
In a statement on Monday, Facebook said that it’s planning to expand its efforts at curbing election interference in three core areas: political advertising transparency, rapid response to elections, and misinformation.
To reduce the possibility of foreign interference in elections, Facebook will change its ad policies and only allow political ads to be purchased by authorized groups from within the country. The ads will also have more information on them and they’ll be publicly searchable for a period of seven years. Facebook (FB) said that it took the first step towards achieving that in Nigeria earlier this month and will fully implement it in India, Ukraine, and Israel before their elections later this year.
In a bid to respond more quickly to hate speech and other woes that arise during elections, Facebook will establish two new “regional operations centers” in Dublin and Singapore. They’ll each focus exclusively on election integrity and improve collaboration between those centers and the areas they monitor.
Facebook’s battle against misinformation will change how content gets to your News Feed. Content that is against its Community Standards will be removed and other content, like clickbait or sensational material, will be down-voted by its algorithm, allowing fewer people to see it. When people see news articles or other content in the News Feed, they’ll now see an option to tap “About this article” and learn more about the content and the publisher.
Facebook’s moves come as the world’s largest social network grapples with the flow of fake and misleading information used to impact elections. Those efforts became especially troubling during the 2016 election, when Facebook and other social networks were hit hard by Russian efforts to impact the election’s results. Facebook has since said that it will improve its efforts to stem election interference, but many critics have said it needs to do more. The new initiatives announced on Monday are a step in that direction. But Facebook itself acknowledged that its work isn’t done.
“While these efforts represent an improvement over the past few years, we know that improving security is never finished,” Facebook’s Katie Harbath and Samidh Chakrabarti said in a statement. “There have always been people trying to undermine democracy. We are up against determined adversaries who try to attack on many fronts and we recognize our role and responsibility. We will never stop all the bad actors, but we’re making real progress and we are committed to continuing to improve.”