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Last Updated : Jan 10, 2019 04:48 PM IST | Source:

Ahead of elections, Facebook to stimulate 'integrity efforts'

The social media giant will take lessons from the recently concluded elections in Brazil, midterm elections in the United States and Bangladesh and India's assembly elections in 2018

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Social media websites are gearing up to drive political conversations across India as general elections are round the corner. Facebook, used by nearly 290 million people in India, is looking to enhance its 'integrity efforts' here by appointing senior personnel and increasing advertising among other steps, The Economic Times reported.

The social media website will take lessons from the recently concluded elections in Brazil, mid-term elections in the United States and Bangladesh and India's assembly elections in 2018. The website wants to place a special check on the spread of misinformation.

Katie Harbath, Facebook's Global Politics and Government Outreach Director, told the paper that the company has been trying to appoint an Election Integrity Head. Indian elections are top priority for Facebook's top management.

"That we are still hiring people should not take away from the fact that we have been working on the Indian elections since October 2017, when we first started pulling together teams and started thinking about 2019 elections and state elections in between," she added.

Since early December 2018, Facebook has started efforts to make political advertisements more transparent. "We are trying to understand how to balance people's privacy versus the public's right to know who is behind these political ads," Harbath said.

For this, the social media giant may include entity verification, which it has already launched in the US. This would cover unverified Facebook pages that use strange names and act as a proxy for various political leaders.

Elections in Brazil were a huge learning opportunity for the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company as it saw a non-English speaking population using Facebook before elections. However, Indian elections will be on a much higher scale than the Brazil elections, which is why it is a challenge.
First Published on Jan 10, 2019 04:48 pm
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