Social Media

Facebook sets out new countermeasures to stamp out UK election interference

By John Glenday | Reporter

Meta

|

political advertising article

October 22, 2019 | 3 min read

Facebook has unveiled a package of measures designed to counter potential interference in the next UK general election as it seeks to demonstrate that it has regained control of its platform.

Outlining these measures via an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph, the social network vowed to extend its transparency measures for political ads to any advert relating to social issues such as immigration, health and the environment.

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Facebook sets out new countermeasures to stamp out election interference

The firm has also pledged to improve its Ad Library systems and will establish a dedicated UK election operations centre as soon as a date is set for a vote. Facebook will also adopt a campaigning voice to instigate broader change including adding its weight to calls for UK regulations and electoral law to be updated for the digital age.

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Outlining these changes Facebook vice president Richard Allan wrote: “… we are determined to play our part in protecting elections from interference by making our platform more secure and political advertising more transparent. While we can never say for sure that there won’t be issues in future elections, we are confident that we’re better prepared than ever.”

The British action plan follows confirmation of similar measures across the pond where CEO Mark Zuckerberg set out a similar four-point plan to prepare the network for the US 2020 elections. This will focus on clearly labeling misinformation; banning adverts that encourage non-participation; labeling state-funded media and incorporating more tools to allow people to analyse specific ads.

The response follows a 2016 scandal in which Russia manipulated Facebook to sow division and misinformation in the run-up to the US presidential election.

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