Facebook to take preventive measures ahead of 2020 elections

The US Presidential elections 2020 would be here again. And Facebook has been making plans to prevent any kind of unwanted election interference.

How can election interference happen through Facebook? Imagine if an election candidate’s profile gets hacked on Facebook? Miscreants who do so could steal important information. They may spread incorrect information with the aid of Facebook ads.

So, How does Facebook plan to safeguard electoral candidates’ profiles?Facebook has taken a few steps to avoid any kind of interference for the 2020 elections. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated there are significant changes in the 2020 elections as compared to the 2016 elections. Thus, even Facebook plans to take preventive measures to thwart any kind of threat.

This new functionality is known as Facebook Protect. Unwanted elements could hack the accounts of electoral candidates and steal important information. Due to this, sensitive details could be exposed; also, there could be spread of incorrect information.

Facebook Protect offers two-way authentication. It helps Facebook to watch out for any fishy activity, such as any suspicious login attempts. In case of any uneventful activity, Facebook can inform the concerned organization to which the candidate belongs and accordingly take action.

Other preventive measures that are taken by Facebook

Apart from the Facebook Protect feature, Facebook has taken some other steps to ensure that there are no hindrances in the upcoming elections.

  • Providing all the necessary details regarding the owner of a Facebook page. This would be possible through a tab named as “Organizations That Manage This Page”. This would contain the name of the organization, city, contact details and all the website information.
  • Labeling publishers who are either partially or completely under the editorial control of the government as state-controlled media. This would include “Russia Today” who give a lot of coverage about US news. This feature kicks-off next month.
  • Giving the users complete transparency on all the expenditure details of the US Presidential candidates on Facebook. This would be achieved with the help of a tracking tool. An API tool would also be introduced shortly, which would be of great help in sorting out advertising data.
  • Labeling of false and partially false photos and videos. This would be applicable to Instagram stories as well. 
  • Banning of ads that advise people against voting. However, it still refuses to ban political ads.
  • Investing a huge sum of money such as $2 million for the purpose of media literacy assignments. This would help people in understanding all the important aspects of political social media and ads. These are inclusive of programs which ascertain that Instagram accounts have all the necessary resources required to curb the spread of incorrect information. They also focus on pilot projects that educate senior citizens and high school students about online safety and media literacy.

Is everyone in favor of political ads not being banned?

Zuckerberg feels that people should be able to decide on who would be the right eligible candidates. According to him, banning political ads would benefit incumbents and that is not the way it is meant to be. 

This aspect of Facebook refusing to ban political ads may not go down well with everyone. To fare better, it could offer standardized ad units to political campaigns that feature a candidate. It can also put on fact-check labels to political ads. It could also find out other ways for challengers to voice their opinions outside ads so that incumbents would not be benefitted even if the ads are banned.

We really need to see what measures Facebook takes in tackling these political ads. Let us hope that it is not in the news again for all the wrong reasons.

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