Who Will Guard the Guards? Facebook Launches Programme to Stop Misinformation and Election Meddling

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The company was repeatedly accused of not investing enough time and effort to stop the flow of fake news and prevent meddling during the 2016 presidential elections. At the same time, numerous media and politicians have raised concerns that new policies, meant to fight against misinformation could be used to suppress “unwanted” opinions.

Facebook has activated its project aimed at shielding the next presidential elections in the United States from meddling via the internet, the tech giant announced late Thursday.

“Today, we’re launching Facebook Protect to further secure the accounts of elected officials, candidates, their staff and others who may be particularly vulnerable to targeting by hackers and foreign adversaries. As we’ve seen in past elections, they can be targets of malicious activity”, the official statement read.

The corporation attempted to stop the spread of misinformation, noting that beginning next month, Instagram will make “accounts that repeatedly post misinformation harder to find”, while Facebook will filter them to exclude fakes from the news feed.

The system will also label “content across Facebook and Instagram that has been rated false or partly false by a third-party fact-checker”, Facebook added, without providing details on the said organisation or how the process will work.

According to the company, the new system will also let Facebook and Instagram users protect themselves from hacking and cyberattacks by using two-factor authentication.

“Participants will be required to turn on two-factor authentication, and their accounts will be monitored for hacking, such as login attempts from unusual locations or unverified devices. And, if we discover an attack against one account, we can review and protect other accounts affiliated with that same organisation that are enrolled in our programme”, Facebook stated.

The statement also echoes the opinion of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who claimed in October that Russia and Iran attempted to hack the 2016 elections – which Moscow and Tehran have repeatedly denied over the past three years, stressing there is no evidence to support the allegations.

Washington has even imposed sanctions against Russia over its alleged meddling in American elections in 2016 and 2018, while investigators were searching for possible connections between the Kremlin and US President Donald Trump or his campaign. However, after a two-year probe, Special Counsel Robert Mueller stated there was no evidence of such collusion.

Sputnik

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