Social Media no easy ‘canvas’ for the 17th Lok Sabha Elections

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img_src: pakistantoday.com.pk

With the 17th Lok Sabha Elections underway and with social media platforms making canvasing easier, the fake-news epidemic has left the democracy polarized and minorities nervous. Social Media and their associated platforms are tightening the leash to keep controversy at bay as the elections begin full swing.

The Managing Director and Vice President of Facebook’s India operations, Ajit Mohan, in his blog post quotes “As Facebook continues to play a larger role in civic discussions and debate, we are committed to working hard to prevent abuse on our services, especially during elections.”

The project by the social media platform began more than 18 months ago. With extensive research, their findings helped them concentrate on key areas that include:

  • Blocking and removing fake accounts
  • Fighting the spread of misinformation
  • Stopping abuse by domestic actors
  • Spotting attempts at foreign meddling and
  • Taking action against inauthentic coordinated campaigns

The plan has been executed with the helps of dozens of teams both in India and abroad. With the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) the social networking site was able to block or remove close to one million accounts a day!

In order for their users to gain more transparency, Facebook launched their political ad transparency tool.  The tool helps give users a clearer picture of who is placing the ads they see. In addition Facebook verifies anyone who wants to run an ad in India related to politics with their identity, location and ‘paid for by’ details.

Stepping up their game, they’ve also tied up with third-party fact-checkers from seven accredited organizations in India. In a country largely influenced by its local and community news, their fact checking partners are able to review content across different languages including Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Gujarati.

The social networking site has also introduced two new products in the light of the elections. The ‘Candidate Connect’ feature allows users to get accurate information about different candidates. The ‘Share You Voted’ campaign is the second feature that will encourage voters to go out there and cast their vote.

To a more informed democracy and abolition of the fake news and misinformation epidemic!

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