As you know, the midterm election season is upon us. Primaries are taking place one after another all across the United States, and campaigns are buckling down in an “all hands on deck” kind of way. Similarly, election offices and media companies are gearing up for the coming rush to the polls.
As a major source of information and news, Facebook is also preparing.
On Tuesday, the social media giant released its plan to combat voter misinformation and interference as November 2 draws closer.
According to the company, they spent $5 billion last year on security measures and, since then, have added hundreds of new employees whose only priority is to make the platform safer and more secure. The major goal for 2022 is to prohibit any and all ads that either question the legitimacy of an election or encourages people to not vote.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and its President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, says that the process and most used measures will be quite similar to the one used by the company used in 2020, with some new features, of course. Clegg noted that the company is constantly seeking out new and innovative security features and investing in online election security. For them, it’s not just an election season thing.
As he wrote, “With each major election around the world – including national election this year in France and the Philippines – we incorporate the lessons we learn to help stay ahead of emerging threats.”
Just as they should.
However, such a task is not an easy one. And there are those on both sides who have issues with how Facebook has done things in the past. Some accuse the platform of not doing enough, while others have said they are censoring our first amendment right to free speech.
As you know, the latter has been Donald Trump’s view for some time, claiming that due to such censorship, America wasn’t allowed to know all about Hunter Biden’s transgressions, his dad’s involvement in them, or just how geriatric Biden is.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter made sure to silence the voices they thought to be too dangerous. It just turns out they were all from the right.
The question will be whether or not Facebook has gotten any less biased in the two years since they helped cheat Trump out of a second term.
According to Clegg, their security has gotten better and has already been used to stop dozens of groups, including 270 White supremacist ones, that have tried to interfere with elections. He says the platform and its systems found about 97 percent of the millions of removed content before anyone reported it.
He says, “As we did in 2020, we have a dedicated team in place to combat election and voter interference while also helping people get reliable information about when and how to vote.”
Of course, he claims their fact-checkers and voting and election team are “independent” and unbiased, that they won’t block content or users based on a difference in opinion. But if they are anything like the people who worked in those departments during the 2020 election, I’d say we’re looking at the same kind of one party only allowed that existed in the media then.
But we can hope, right?
Another thing that will be the same as 2020 is the platform’s ban on any new political ads during the last week before the election, as there is not ample time to combat new claims these ads may make before the election.
They may also continue the use of “labels that connect people with reliable information,” as they did during the last election cycle. However, there were some complaints about those, so Clegg says they would only be deployed if need be.
As November draws closer, only time will tell just how unbiased the media giant will be and, therefore, how helpful or hurtful it may be to America’s electoral processes, candidates, and election workers.