Social networks are an increasingly determining factor in electoral processes around the world as they become tools to spread propaganda and information, although this has resulted in disguised propaganda and fake news. Facebook presented a new tool to combat these practices with a view to the election of 2021 in Mexico.
Mexico City, August 4 (However) – For the next electoral process from Mexico, Facebook will bet on transparency in political propaganda: from today the platform will enable new rules to clearly identify the political announcements so that users know who paid for that information, how much and to whom it is directed.
These labels They will allow creating records that will allow measurements and investigations to be made on the money and content that is invested in that social network during the campaign period and will be available for seven years. At the same time, efforts will be made to combat disinformation and will give the user the opportunity to distinguish between organic content and the propagandistic.
All users will be able to access the information to identify who pays for the dissemination of a certain message, since Facebook will request from those who buy propaganda a registration issued by the country where the information will be disseminated and will verify and confirm their identity to carry out a political campaign.
The use of this tool and the filters will be mandatory and will be applied in the same way for Instagram, the other social network owned by Facebook.
In the 2021 midterm election, It becomes important due to the number of positions that will be defined: 21 thousand 368 positions and 15 governors will be at stake (Guerrero, Colima, Campeche, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Sinaloa, Zacatecas, Tlaxcala, Michoacan, Nuevo Leon, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Nayarit and Queretaro). In addition, the Chamber of Deputies will be renewed and 500 legislators will be elected, 300 by relative majority and 200 by the multi-member channel.
According to the press release of the new tool, Facebook will use a series of signals to determine if the ads were originated by an authorized user and located within the country. Failure to comply with those requirements, advertising could be suspended.
The tag that will appear to the user in the post will be “Paid by” and it will appear what the advertisers have decided, which may be themselves, a page that they manage or the organization to which they belong. Both the page and the organization must have public a phone number, an email and a web page.
“This launch is part of an expansion of the transparency tool to 33 countries, with the aim of protecting the integrity of political advertising on our platforms. The solution was implemented in June 2018 in the United States and is currently available in more than 190 countries and territories, “the company added in a press release.
Marcos Tourinho, leader of the Latin American elections team on Facebook, explained in the presentation that it seeks to streamline the automatic removal of false accounts and crafty content, since they have identified that the vast majority of manipulation attempts start with false accounts.
In this sense, it is estimated that 97.7 percent of these types of accounts can be removed even before they are reported.
He added that in addition to downloading content that promotes hate speech, harassment or bullyng, efforts in the electoral period will focus on combating disinformation and content that may lead a person not to vote or “vote badly.”
We will work with the more than 70 verifiers that Facebook has around the world, which are in charge of detecting false content in good time to reduce the reach of that content on the platform. There will also be the collaboration of the National Electoral Institute (INE) for the generation of information regarding the process that helps people to know where to vote or what they need to do it.
The collaboration with the INE will extend to the verification of illegal content. Tourinho explained that Facebook will make the decision to download certain content but with the guidance of the INE, “it is the role of the state to tell us if something is legal or not on the platform. We serve the platform, but the authorities legal or not, because perhaps there is certain content that does not violate our rules, so Facebook should not have the power to say what is legal and what is not, it is inappropriate and it is too much power. ”
From the library of information that will be generated there will also be a ranking of which pages are making the most expenses and it will be possible to search by parties or candidates.
“It will be a database of political announcements. It will be a tool established on the platform and that will serve for all political announcements, not only for the electoral period, but forever, Tourinho added.
However, the Facebook team predicts that gray areas will be generated in political content in order to determine what is correct and what is not. They assured that the tool will be governed by the content and not by who does it.
“We mean the content of the ad. It will improve, there will be a learning of the machine and of the people ”, he added.
Starting today, there will be a verification process for each ad. Facebook pointed out that they will work for the integrity of the platform and that the reaction of the actors, which is normal and is part of the process, is what is least worrying in that case.
“Transparency and not punishing anyone is the objective of this system, which seeks to give more information to citizens and can help politicians because it pays for transparency. The intention is to shed light on political financing, ”added Tourinho.